The Confucius Prize was awarded to Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin by Chinese academics today.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Putin was awarded the prize, which is China's version of the Nobel Peace Prize, for being "outstanding in keeping world peace."
According to The New York Times:
His iron hand and toughness revealed in this war impressed the Russians a lot, and he was regarded to be capable of bringing safety and stability to Russia,” read an English version of the committee’s statement. “He became the anti-terrorist No. 1 and the national hero.”
The first Confucius Prize was given to Lien Chan, a Taiwanese politician, and head of the Koumintang Party, as a response by China to the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to imprisoned Chiense writer and regime critic, Liu Xiaobo.
GlobalPost's correspondent in Shanghai wrote that "Beijing reacted with fury to Liu's Nobel, and he became the first recipient of the prize not allowed a representative at the award ceremony in Norway."
Foreign Policy writes that last year's awarding of the prize was a bit of a disaster:
The winner, former Taiwanese Vice President Lien Chan, was never informed that he had won, and the statue and prize money were instead handed to a little girl with no relation to him.
Earlier this year, the ministry overlooking the prize, ordered organisers to scrap the award, saying they were not given official permission to promote it. But Qiao Damo contested this decision on Tuesday. He said it was "unreasonable" to cancel the prize.
Putin beat German Chancellor Angela Merkel andYuan Longping, a Chinese agriculture scientist for this year's prize.