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Chinese Academics Give Alternative Peace Prize to Russia's Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin talks during a dinner with foreign scholars and journalists at a restaurant on the premises of an equestrian complex outside Moscow, November 11, 2011.

A group of Chinese academics has awarded an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Organizers of the Confucius Peace Prize said Tuesday that Putin beat out German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Jacob Zuma for the award.

In comments to the French News Agency, one of the organizers, Qiao Damo, said Putin was selected for his opposition to NATO's plan to bomb Libya and for appearing to the world in a "peaceful manner."

The prize was established last year in response to the Nobel Foundation awarding its peace prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. It was created by an association overseen by China's Culture Ministry. However, in September the ministry ordered organizers to cancel the award, saying they were not given permission to promote it.

The first Confucius prize was awarded to former Taiwanese Vice President Lien Chan. Lien was unaware of the award and did not show up to claim it.

This year's award will be presented December 9 in Beijing, just days before the Nobel peace prize is awarded. It is unclear if Putin will attend.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.