BEIJING (AFP) – Fidel Castro has been awarded China’s version of the Nobel Peace Prize, reports said Thursday, with a paper close to the ruling Communist Party hailing the former Cuban leader’s “important contributions” to world peace.
Castro bested more than 20 nominees including South Korean President Park Geun-hye, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a regional group led by Moscow and Beijing, to win this year’s “Confucius Peace Prize”, the state-run Global Times reported.
The Cuban revolutionary icon was selected by nine judges out of a group of 16 experts and scholars, the paper said.
The shadowy Confucius prize emerged in 2010, when it was suddenly announced by the panel two days before jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel to Beijing’s anger, sparking speculation it was set up with the government’s guidance.
A Cuban exchange student received this year’s award on Castro’s behalf at a ceremony on Tuesday, one day before Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi accepted their Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.