Only three weeks after the idea was first publicly floated, China has cobbled together its own peace prize and plans to award it Thursday -- the day before the Nobel Committee honors an imprisoned Chinese dissident in a move that has enraged Beijing.
Since Liu Xiaobo's selection, China has vilified the 54-year-old democracy advocate, called the choice an effort by the West to contain its rise, disparaged his supporters as "clowns," and launched a campaign to persuade countries not to attend Friday's ceremony in Oslo. The government is also preventing Liu -- who is serving an 11-year sentence for co-authoring a bold appeal for political reforms in the Communist country -- and his family members from attending.
Amid the flurry of action came a commentary published on Nov. 17 in a Communist Party-approved tabloid that suggested China create its own award -- the "Confucius Peace Prize" -- to counter the choice of Liu.
Three weeks later, The Associated Press has learned, China is doing just that.