- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 215 Hour
- Reading permission
Beijing defiant as Spielberg walks out |
Mary-Anne Toy Herald Correspondent in Beijing and agencies
February 14, 2008
BEIJING was defiant yesterday in the face of its most embarrassing Olympic crisis so far, sparked by the US director Steven Spielberg's announcement that he is quitting as an artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympic Games because of China's continued support for its oil-rich trading partner Sudan.
In a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Washington and the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee, Spielberg said his "conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual" while China failed to use its economic, military and diplomatic ties with Sudan to end the crisis in Darfur. Government-backed violence in the Darfur region of western Sudan has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions homeless.
"Sudan's Government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes," he wrote. "But the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there."
Spielberg's appointment in April to work with the Chinese director Zhang Yimou and others, including the Australian Ric Burch, on the opening and closing ceremonies for the Games sparked criticism by Darfur activists, who dubbed the Beijing Games the "Genocide Olympics".
Spielberg's spokesman, Andy Spahn, said the director had tried for 10 months to get China to play a more constructive role in Darfur, and had written two letters to the President, Hu Jintao.
He would work instead on relief efforts in Darfur.
Responding to the resignation, the Chinese embassy in Washington said: "As the Darfur issue is neither an internal issue of China nor is it caused by China, it is completely unreasonable, irresponsible and unfair to link the two as one."
An editorial in the Government's national mouthpiece, People's Daily, last week reiterated that those trying to politicise the Olympics were insulting the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese and "demonising" China.
"The international community knows quite well that China has exerted a positive and constructive influence on the Darfur issue," the editorial said, pointing to the deployment of China's troops on UN-African Union peacekeeping missions in Darfur.
-SMH.COM.AU the Sydney Morning Herald