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The Nobel Peace prize is one of the world's most prestigious awards, but it is also one of the most contentious.

Liu Ziubao, the Chinese activist, is the latest winner, a decision that has infuriated Beijing. China's is not the only critical voice: Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has also entered the debate, expressing solidarity with the Chinese government.

The Peace prize was set up with clear goals: the award would be given to those who "have done the most for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and promotion of peace congresses".

But critics say that not all past winners have met this criteria.

In 1973 Henry Kissinger won the award, for his work on the Vietnam peace accords. It later emerged he was responsible for a secret bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese army.

In 1994, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin jointly won the award for their efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. But peace remains elusive in the region.

And, most recently, just nine months into his presidency, Barack Obama was awarded the coveted prize. Yet US drone strikes on Pakistan territory have increased under his presidency, the US still has a military presence in Iraq and is actively engaged in war in Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan explores the different faces of the Nobel Peace prize.

Source: Al Jazeera