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The surprise announcement that President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize brought muted and mixed reaction in Asia.
Norwegian Nobel Committee gave the prize Friday to Mr. Obama for "his
extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and
cooperation between peoples."
The award comes nine months after Mr. Obama took office.
president, the son of an African immigrant and an American mother is
extremely popular overseas, unlike his predecessor President George W.
Bush. He is particularly well-liked in Indonesia, where Mr. Obama spent
part of his childhood, living in Jakarta with his mother and stepfather.
Witoelar is a political commentator and former presidential spokesman
in Jakarta. He calls the announcement fantastic news.
Prize is not defined in terms of cookbook recipes, not like you have to
disarm 5,000 people and you win the Peace Prize," Witoelar said. "But
his inspiration, his leadership, I think he has done already, just by
getting elected, he has taken America away from the path of mass
destruction. I mean Bush was committing mass destruction. And now he
has taken the American people on the road to peace. Now how is that for
achievement! And then he has confirmed to people in Indonesia who are
for moderation, pluralism, that we can believe in America and the more
people believe in a peaceful America, the more peace there will be in
Many people in Asia had thought the prize might
go to Chinese dissidents, to mark the 20th anniversary of the student
democracy protests that the Beijing government brutally crushed in 1989.
Dan was one of those protesters. He spent years in and out of jail in
China after 1989 and was sent to exile in the United States in 1998. He
is now a visiting assistant professor of history at Chengchi University
"Of course, I congratulate President Obama. But I
still feel sorry for Chinese dissidents because they didn't win the
prize," Wang said.
Wang also says he thinks giving the prize to the dissidents might have done more for world peace.
is a crucial time for the whole world, and the Chinese," Wang noted.
"China, as a rising power, really needs democracy. So the Peace Prize
can be a great encouragement for democracy of China. And the
democratization of China will be the greatest contribution for world