The Zhou Enlai Peace Prize

This certainly sound more legitimate than the ridiculous Confucius Prize. Check out their website; it seems to have a lot of backing from prominent figures in the US, like Henry Kissinger.

From the download link (PDF) on their site:

Zhou Enlai Peace Award

Once a year, on a date near Zhou’s birthday, the Zhou Enlai Peace Award will be presented at a special ceremony held in the Great Hall of the People.

An Award will be given annually to a person within China who practices the principles of simplicity, humility, respect and peacemaking, who meets the personal standard of integrity set by Zhou Enlai. An Award will also be given to a person from the other nations of the world, who will be brought to Beijing to receive recognition for their contributions to peace.

The ceremonies will be broadcast nationwide, and made available in translation to broadcasters in other countries.

Maybe this helps explain why the Confucius Peace Prize has been unceremoniously dumped?

Thanks to the reader who sent me the information.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 31 Comments

If the CCP is to offer their attempt at a Nobel-like prize, this is a much better effort on its face than that ham-fisted Confucius nonsense. This commemorates an early pillar in the party, who also had a hand in ushering in what modern day China has become.

This actually has a chance to be taken seriously, rather than to merely serve as a punchline for jokes. And for once, the CCP didn’t shoot itself in the foot, like naming the prize after Mao or something equally brilliant like that.

October 6, 2011 @ 4:01 am | Comment

For all that Zhou Enlai was a far more complicated person than his highly polished public image in the PRC, he still is to my mind someone who tried very hard to build a strong and stable modern country. I’m sure there will be some dissenters here, but I think it’s a good tribute to a towering figure in modern Chinese history.

Pending what kinds of folks they nominate, of course…

October 6, 2011 @ 6:28 am | Comment

Lisa, I tend to agree. Yes, he had a lot of faults (who doesn’t) like his unwavering support for the Great Leap Forward, but I always felt he had China’s best interests at heart. I put this post up respectfully, and wonder why China had to muddy the waters with the other peace prize it announced last year.

October 6, 2011 @ 6:44 am | Comment

Kind of weird that people would tout Zhou (essentially a communist warlord, not much different to a red version of Wu Peifu) as a better figure for a peace prize than Confucius, who was at least by-and-large in favour of making peace.

That said it’s not hard to see the reasons for this – Confucius has become something of a joke through the endless hijacking of his image by Chinese nationalists, a kind of generic filler for the vast gaping hole in the ideological basis of China’s current system of government. In contrast, Zhou is at the moment, a relatively un-tapped resource.

Still, peace-making was not even Zhou greatest skill – it was his ability, similar to that of Albert Speer, to curb, rein in, and ameliorate the more insane urgings of the maniacal dictator who he served. This was not peace-making, but chicanery in a good cause. Once again, similarly to Speer, it is only against the insane backdrop of the Mao regime that Zhou’s actions appear to have any virtue.

Let us not forget that the Chinese government is almost certainly behind this – if it is being given in the Great Hall of the People on live national television, it is inconceivable that anyone but the government is doing it.

Let us also not forget the reason why this reward is being given – the reward is being given because a Chinese man was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for trying to bring democracy and freedom to China, and this man and his wife remain prisoners of conscience. The reward is being given as way of trying to mask this crime.

Yes, the Confucius prize was a joke, but this was not merely because of the piss-poor organisation of the thing. It was because it was a transparent attempt at diversion. On this point, the Zhou Enlai prize is just as much a joke. I suggest it be held in the same contempt.

October 6, 2011 @ 7:05 am | Comment

To FOARP:
agreed, an award given in Zhou’s name, with that kind of pomp and circumstance, can only happen if it has the blessing from the very top of the food chain.

Also agree this is in response to the Nobel…although somewhat less obtuse and less egregious in timing compared with the Confucius silliness last year.

That said, i don’t mind this thing on its face. As i’ve said previously, rather than for the apologists to consistently whine about who gets the Nobel Peace, they should put their money where their mouth is and make their own award. Now the CCP has done just that. They’re well within their rights to do so, and it has the potential to be much less of a fiasco than the Confucius. But ultimately, as Lisa says, it will depend on who they award it to. And naturally, this does nothing to diminish Liu Xiabao’s Nobel, nor does it obscure the injustice he and his wife are being subjected to at the hands of the CCP. In fact, the international attention that the CCP hopes this award will garner will have the effect of casting more light onto the Nobel (which is not necessarily) and onto Liu (which may or may not be necessary).

October 6, 2011 @ 7:26 am | Comment

FOARP, I’m not saying a Zhou prize is better than a Confucius prize. It’s the way they were presented. The Confucius prize always seemed like an idiotic, disorganized, embarrassing attempt to pout about the Nobel prize, while this new prize is being introduced in a relatively thoughtful and serious manner. If they had presented the Confucius prize like this there would have been no ridicule in the media.

October 6, 2011 @ 7:44 am | Comment

Zhou Enlai was sexy, charming man. He certainly behaves and looks very different from today’s Chinese students and immigrants living in the US. Compared to him, this generation of Chinese are physically weak and mentally withered, no vibrancy, no personality, nothing, a bunch of losers.

Zhou Enlai and his generation was different. It was a vibrant generation and a purposeful generation.

Just go back and look at the image of him standing like a tower at Beijing’s airport greeting Nixon. What a sexy man.

October 6, 2011 @ 9:53 am | Comment

This Chinese authorities, are they out of their mind?

October 6, 2011 @ 9:57 am | Comment

@Richard – Really? No ridicule? I think the transparency of the move by itself makes it a prime target. More to the point, the prize has to go to someone, someone who the CCP can count on to show up for it.

October 6, 2011 @ 1:01 pm | Comment

Methinks the whole thing is a money making venture above all disguised as some sort of harmless “institute”.

Seriously…”A Hero of Peace”????

Undoubtedly Zhou’s niece will profit nicely as will the various businessmen going to Hawaii accompanying the Chinese delegation to APEC like carpetbaggers to the yokels (Hawaii/US businessmen) and selling them on the bennies of FDI in China.

I’m sure Hawaii real estate agents will line up by the hundreds for the “opportunity” to sell prime properties to Chinese investors and after the Wangs of Wenzhou move in they can clean out all the Japanese decor from the previous owner!

October 6, 2011 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

The Zhou Enlai prize: a nice prize.
Wen Jiabao: a nice politician.

Guess why they didn’t make it a Mao Zedong prize. In substance, that wouldn’t have made a difference, but it wouldn’t have been as nice.
Zhou is one of the fondly-remembered characters of a dark era, especially among northern Chinese, it seems. And of course, he is a good role model. You have to go through thick and thin with any bunch of gangsters. That’s loyalty. Really, I’m not sure if it makes a difference if you make this a Zhou-Enlai prize, or a Confucius prize.

The message is: be as decent a man as you can, but don’t oppose the mafia. The nominees will be chosen in accordance with this message.

October 6, 2011 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

I wonder what the Indians think of this. On Oct 3 1962 Zhou visited Nehru in New Delhi to tell him that China had no hostile intentions around their mutual borders. A week later the PLA invaded, to kick off the Sino-Indian War.

October 6, 2011 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

Oh and an endorsement by Henry “I bombed Cambodia back into the Stone Age” Kissinger just adds to the cachet of this prize.

October 6, 2011 @ 4:44 pm | Comment

@JR – Really, there isn’t any difference between what Zhou Enlai did and what Albert Speer did – so long as you believe Speer’s claims that he was not involved in and did not know about the war crimes committed by his government, that is. People who lavish praise on Zhou seem to forget that, at best, all he did was ameliorate the worst instances of insanity of a mad regime, whilst facilitating some of their only marginally less terrible ones.

Who will win the prize? It’s too early for Wen Jiabao (whose public image has been carefully modelled on the image of Zhou spoon-fed to generations of Chinese schoolchildren) to win it – he’ll probably get next year’s or the year after’s. My random guess would be Donald Tsang, or perhaps someone lower down in the Taiwan Affairs bureaucracy.

As for the foreigner who will win it, since it has to be someone who will come to Beijing, my guess would be someone from Beijing’s South-East Asian, African, or Carribean allies. Castro may be too sick, and such a prize might be considered beneath him. Same goes for Mugabe. Someone from Laos or Cambodia?

October 6, 2011 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

Lee Kuan-yew?

October 6, 2011 @ 8:14 pm | Comment

Seems that only people within China will qualify, FOARP. Zimbabwe’s ambassador, maybe. I think Mugabe is too sick, even if he’s still walking, and it would be beneath Castro. ;-)

October 6, 2011 @ 10:42 pm | Comment

The ersatz Panchen Lama. Jiang Zemin. Tang Jiaxuan. Qian Qichen.

October 6, 2011 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

@JR -

“An Award will also be given to a person from the other nations of the world, who will be brought to Beijing to receive recognition for their contributions to peace. “

So they’re going to have to choose someone form overseas as well, and that person is going to have to come to Beijing – they won’t pick someone they can’t rely on.

My guess – Norodom Sihanouk, the guy who was King of Cambodia until he abdicated in favour of his son. He’s obscure enough to be willing to take the prize, lives in Beijing, and has been a solid ally of the PRC. He can, also, be said to have contributed to the end of the civil war in Cambodia. The only problem is that he’s also quite sick at the moment.

October 6, 2011 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

FOARP, I don’t put Zhou quite in the same category of Speer, who did indeed know the horrifying conditions of his slave laborers and whose incredible organizational skills allowed the war to continue through 1945 when it should have ended a year earlier. (Gita Sereny wrote a wonderful biography of Speer, highly recommended.) I wouldn’t lavish praise on Zhou, but he does stand out as the pearl among the swine, at least relatively.

If the Chinese want to issue this prize, I have no problem with it, in theory. Let’s see what they do with it.

Stephen King up above, your slanderous comments about the Chinese people are over the top.

October 7, 2011 @ 12:10 am | Comment

What do you mean slanderous? I am Chinese myself? Why would I slander myself? I want the best for the Chinese students and immigrants living in the US, but sometimes their behavior simply makes me sad. Next time I’ll talk about how to assimilate better in American society for Chinese students and immigrants.

October 7, 2011 @ 8:25 am | Comment

Stephen, apologies if I misunderstood you, but this struck me as slanderous:

Compared to him, this generation of Chinese are physically weak and mentally withered, no vibrancy, no personality, nothing, a bunch of losers.

October 7, 2011 @ 8:41 am | Comment

For my money, the hero of modern China is Deng Xiaoping. Maybe China could give a Deng Award to statesmen or activists who do the most to advance the development of free markets.

October 7, 2011 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

Give it to president Ma. And please keep him over there, when he takes the price, thank you very much.

October 9, 2011 @ 12:22 am | Comment

Immediate thoughts: Why Hawaii? What does the former governor of Hawaii have to do with Zhou Enlai or China? Can Zhou Enlai really be compared to Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela? Seems a bit of a stretch.

Looking over the web site I got the strong impression that this is as much about money as peace.

October 9, 2011 @ 7:43 pm | Comment

Supported by Kissinger….a class A war criminal who should be looking at bars rather than enhanced boobs on the beltway cocktail circuit.

And why were most of the sites including hidden harmonies lauding the latest tome/China by this aging scumbag some months ago.

@By Chinese Netizen. Don’t be so elliptical.. cross the i’s and dot the t’s for us. You will advance the discussion.

As for ZEL. A poodle with a strong survival instinct.

@Richard on Stephen King. Don’t go there, you will only get covered with tar.

October 10, 2011 @ 4:15 am | Comment

@Richard, you could also say the same about FOARP. He’s slanderous, but you tolerate it. Why pick on a Chinese guy (stephenking) for comparing modern Chinese with Zhou Enlai? It appears a strange way to moderate, other than FOARP gives you views. Of a certain, libelous type, which I guess you need to keep your readers entertained.

October 12, 2011 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

If FOARP or anyone else slanders the Chinese people (as opposed to the CCP) I’ll call him on it. I didn’t know Stephen was Chinese (his handle certainly doesn’t imply he is), but that’s irrelevant. I explained why I called him out and was careful to say, “apologies if I misunderstood you.” I am always willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

October 12, 2011 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

Wouldn’t it be great if Max Hastings really had come here to read my humble comments? However, I somehow suspect that the person above is not one of the greatest British journalists and war historians of his generation . . .

October 12, 2011 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

FOARP
the reward is being given because a Chinese man was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for trying to bring democracy and freedom to China

And Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for shutting down Guantanamo and pulling out of Iraq.

It warms my heart to know grown men can actually believe in such fairy tales.

October 14, 2011 @ 2:30 pm | Comment

To man’sbestfriend,

Obama’s win was certainly curious. In NBA parlance, I believe he was awarded based on upside…the upside being things like shutting down Gitmo or vacating Iraq. It was certainly a departure for the Nobel committee to reward future potential, rather than past performance.

However, there is no denying that Liu was awarded for his fight for democracy and freedom, or more specifically, Charter 08. What else do you think he was awarded for? Oh right, the Nobel committee…scratch that…the Norwegian government was apparently out to get China…by awarding a prestigious prize to a Chinese national. THose Norwegians…they sure know how to “get” people. The “thinking” of a CCP apologist certainly doesn’t venture far from the usual regimented themes.

October 15, 2011 @ 2:18 pm | Comment

News Release and related Material on Zhou Enlai Peace Institute in Honolulu at APEC Meeting:

Chinese Communists Cheer Formation of “Zhou Enlai Peace Institute” in Honolulu

http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/5317/Chinese-Communists-Cheer-Formation-of-Zhou-Enlai-Peace-Institute-in-Honolulu.aspx

November 5, 2011 @ 1:38 am | Comment

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