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Lien's office denies receiving Chinese peace award

2010/12/08 16:04:38

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) The office of ruling Kuomintang honoraryChairman and former Vice President Lien Chan dismissed on Wednesdayan Associated Press report that a nongovernmental Beijing-basedcommittee had picked him as this year's recipient of the "ConfuciusPeace Prize."

"There is absolutely no such thing as Lien receiving such anaward. We have never heard of it, " said Ting Yuan-chao, the directorand spokesman of Lien's office.

Another person in Lien's office also said the office had notreceived any information related to the news.

According to the AP report, the award was first suggested by aChinese tabloid last month as an answer to the Nobel Peace Prize wonby Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo for his struggle to implementdemocracy in the People's Republic of China.

What started as a semi-farce reportedly became a reality threeweeks later, as AP said it has received a statement from thecommittee confirming the award and the name of the honoree.

"Named after the famed philosopher, the new prize was created tointerpret the viewpoints of peace of (the) Chinese (people) , theawards committee said in a statement it released to the AP onTuesday," the story said.

The article also cited the chairman of the award committee, TanChangliu, as saying his group was not an official government body butdid work closely with China's Ministry of Culture.

Lien, 75, was reportedly chosen from among a number of nominees,including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, former South AfricanPresident Nelson Mandela, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and theChina-appointed Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in TibetanBuddhism.

The report quoted the award committee as saying that Lien wasselected for "having built a bridge of peace between the mainland andTaiwan."

In 2005, Lien became the first Kuomintang chairman to set foot inChina since 1949 when he met with Hu Jintao in Beijing, who receivedhim in his capacity as the head of the Communist Party of China.

The following year, as his term as KMT chairman was ending, Lienled a group of prominent Taiwanese business figures to China for aneconomic forum.

Since 2008, he has been named by President Ma Ying-jeou torepresent the country in three APEC leadership summits.

(By Jenny W. Hsu)