The World’s Two Peace Prizes: Confucius versus Nobel

Michael Martina of Reuters reported on The Confucius Peace Prize. The headline read, China stood up by winner of ‘Confucius peace prize’.

The headline used for this Reuters news made mockery of what a few Chinese citizens attempted and the lead paragraph goes, “It was meant to be China’s answer to the Nobel Peace Prize …”

At first, it sounds as if China’s Communist Party was behind this alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize.

After reading the rest of Martina’s piece, we learn that the Confucius Peace Prize had no connection to China’s central government. Since news of it wasn’t reported in China’s state media, few in China probably even heard of it.

A spokesperson for the Confucius Peace Prize said, This prize is from the people of China, who love and support peace.” The Confucius Peace Prize is a prize established in 2010 in the People’s Republic of China in response to a proposal by business person Liu Zhiqin on November 17, 2010. The chairman of the committee said that the award existed to “promote world peace from an Eastern perspective”, and Confucian peace specifically.

The Confucius Peace Prize may never rival the Nobel, but using Confucius’s name for a peace prize makes more sense than using Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s name.

If you compare The Life of Confucius and/or watch the Confucius film starring Chow Yun Fat you might understand why Confucius deserves the honor more.

After all, Nobel built his fortune on death. He was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator and armaments manufacturer. The Chinese—not Confucius—might have invented gunpowder, but Nobel invented dynamite and manufactured cannons and other more advanced weapons.

He also waited until after his death to make amends for the suffering and destruction his products had caused.

In his last will, Nobel directed that his enormous (blood drenched) fortune be used to institute the Nobel Prizes and made sure to name these prizes after himself so he wouldn’t be remembered as the “Merchant of Death” or the “Lord of War”.

To understand better who Alfred Nobel was, I suggest you watch Nicolas Cage in the Lord of War, a movie released in 2005. Although the movie was not about Nobel, it is about a “Merchant of Death”.

In fact, it may not have been Nobel’s idea to include the Peace Prize. Although Nobel never married, his first love, a Russian girl named Alexandra corresponded with him until his death in 1896. Many believe she was a major influence in Nobel’s decision to include the Peace Prize among the other prizes provided for in his will for science.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

2015 Promotion Image for My Splendid Concubine

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6 Responses to The World’s Two Peace Prizes: Confucius versus Nobel

  1. mellimchan says:

    Awarding the Nobel Peace prize to Obama was the epitome of a bad joke

  2. Debbie says:

    Very informative article, as usual, thank you Lloyd. I had no idea about Nobel’s history as a merchant of death

    • You’re welcome.

      I’d heard about how Nobel made his fortune but didn’t know all the details about the Nobel Prize until I researched it for a post I wrote. What I can’t fathom is how the Nobel prize can be considered an unbiased prize when there are only five committee members who decide the winners. Another example of great public relations, I think. The Nobel Prizes are awarded by a committee of five, appointed by the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament). The committee’s compositions reflects the relative strengths of the political parties in the Storting and although this is not a requirement, all committee members have been Norwegian nationals.

      The history behind the prize would also probably make a good book—his family fought for several years to break his last will:

      So here we have one country with a population of about 5.1 million (about 0.0007% of the global population) that is almost 98% white deciding on what is considered the most prestigious global award. To be legitimate, the award committee should represent the racial and religoius demographics of the world and not one Scandinavian country with more than 82% of its popularization members of one religions, Lutheran.

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