A group of Chinese media and diplomatic representatives has voted Pope Francis one of the world’s top ten “key men of the year 2013”.
The “China International News Forum”, made up of 50 representatives from the most important media and diplomatic associations on mainland China, placed Pope Francis in third position among the top ten most important men in the world, according to Fides news agency.
Others included the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the former Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi. No Pope or religious personality has ever appeared in the annual ranking of the organisation, Fides reported.
The selection was made at the forum’s 15th annual conference on December 15 in Hainan, and made public on December 24.
The event was cosponsored by Guangming Daily, China Public Diplomacy Association and Hainan Daily Press Group with the support of the China Telecommunications Corporation.
Launched in 1999, the “China International News Forum” is aimed at raising the quality of international coverage by China’s media, and improving coordination between media groups. Since it started, it says it has “played a positive role in expanding Chinese media’s influence” and “adhering to the correct direction of public opinion.”