Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been awarded China’s equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize for “injecting fresh energy” into the world’s goal of achieving global harmony.
Mugabe received China’s Confucius peace prize, even though he has been known for using systematic violence and torture in order to remain in power.
Other candidates for the prize included Bill Gates and President of South Korea Park Geun-hye.
The prize committee said of Mugabe, “Ever since Robert Mugabe was sworn in as the president of Zimbabwe in the 1980s, he has worked hard to bring political and economic order to the country and to improve the welfare of the Zimbabwean people by overcoming hardship.”
Mugabe also became the chairman of the 54-country strong African Union earlier this year.
Of course, many people criticized the decision to give the award to Mugabe, who is largely known for violence.
Secretary General of the People’s Democratic Party Gorden Moyo said, “The rule of Mugabe is paved with blood, violence, arson and cruelty.”
Other members of the party were reportedly disgusted with the award, calling Mugabe a war-monger and a sadist.
The Confucius peace prize has been handed out since 2010. It was established after the Norwegian Nobel committee angered China by giving the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed writer Liu Xiaobo, who has been known for not supporting the Chinese government. Liu is still in Chinese prison.
Previous winners of the Confucius peace prize include Vladimir Putin and Fidel Castro.
Committee chairman of the Confucius peace prize Qiao Damo supported the decision to award Mugabe. Qiao said, “If Zimbabwe did not have Mugabe as its president, the country would be facing great difficulty. Even public security might be in danger. Every country’s economy has its highs and lows. Though its economy is lagging behind, (Zimbabwe) is a very stable country. Stability is precious in the African continent.”
Committee member Liu Zhiqin said that the possibility of voting for Mugabe divided voters. Only 36 members of the group voted for Mugabe. The group has a total of 76 members.
Liu said, “Frankly speaking, there were internal concerns about awarding Mugabe the peace prize. I myself have reservations. Mugabe has been in power for such a long time that he could be easily be labelled a dictator, tyrant or despot.”
It is unknown if Mugabe will travel to China to collect his prize. The Confucius peace prize comes with nearly $79,000 and a gold trophy.