A group of academics and advocates plan to nominate Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, in the wake of the first-ever meeting between the pair in Singapore this November.
The initiator of the plan, Peng Peigen, a former architectural professor at Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University, announced it on Dec. 27 at the school. The historical Xi-Ma meeting, Xi’s disarmament of 300,000 troops, and the 23 deals signed between Taiwan and China—mainly covering trade, transit and investment—show that Xi and Ma have provided “the best examples for the world and regional peace and stability,” making both of them eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize, Taiwan-based digital publication Storm Media reported (link in Chinese).
Peng and other qualified nominators for the prize plan to file their nominations to the Norwegian Nobel Committee separately. The eight man group is mostly from mainland China, and includes a former Tsinghua President and president of the China World Peace Foundation.
According to the Nobel Foundation, “members of national assemblies and governments of states University rectors,” “professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes” are considered qualified nominators, among others.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on Dec. 30 that the nomination is a nongovernmental “spontaneous behavior,” and it had no comment (link in Chinese).
The two leaders met for the first time in almost seven decades in November in Singapore, which is considered by both China and Taiwan to be a historic moment.
In November, Professor Wang Yigui from Reiming University wrote a separate letter (link in Chinese) to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, nominating Xi for the Nobel Peace Prize for his One Belt, One Road initiative, disarmament of troops, and the historic meeting with Ma.
Xi’s nomination faces some steep hurdles: former Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is still in prison, and Xi has detained human rights lawyers and increased censorship and militarization of the South China Sea, since he took office.