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Asia-Pacific
China 'regrets' Spielberg decision
Beijing disappointed with Hollywood director for quitting as adviser to Olympics.
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2008 19:57 GMT

Spielberg said he quit after a conscience attack
over China's policy in Sudan [Reuters]

China has expressed disappointment with Steven Spielberg for stopping his involvement with the Beijing Olympics.
 
Liu Jianchao, a foreign ministry spokesman, expressed "regret" on Friday at the Oscar-winning US film director's decision to pull out over Beijing's ties with the Sudanese government accused of mass killings in Darfur.
"All preparation work for the Beijing Olympics is proceeding smoothly. The Chinese people are willing to work with artists from around the world with wisdom and talent and the Olympic Games will be a success," Liu said.
Spielberg announced his withdrawal as creative adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games this week, saying China was doing little to stop the bloodshed in Darfur.
 
Spielberg said the international community, and particularly China, "should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering" in Darfur.
 
'Unfair'
 
China has been criticised for not putting more
pressure on Khartoum [AFP]
In defending its policy, the Communist party said Darfur was "not an internal affair of China, nor was it caused by China", and that it was "utterly unreasonable, irresponsible and unfair" to link the two together.
 
A statement published in the Global Times, run by the party's People's Daily, said the decision by Spielberg and others to boycott the Olympics "disgusted" the Chinese people.
 
"Western exploitation of the Olympics to pressure China immediately provoked much disgust among ordinary Chinese people," the paper said.
 
"The vast majority of Chinese people have expressed bafflement and outrage at the Western pressure. In their view, it's absolutely absurd to place the Darfur issue, so many thousands of miles away, on the head of China."
 
Even Chinese citizens who complain about losing homes to Olympics Games projects opposed Western pressure, the paper added.
 
The Chinese embassy in Washington called on "relevant parties" to recognise the "positive role played by China on the Darfur issue" and not politicise the Olympics.
 
Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee chief, joined calls for China to do more to put pressure on Sudan, British paper the Independent reported on Thursday.
 
The UN says 200,000 people have died in
Darfur since 2003 [EPA]
Rogge's name was added to a letter originally released to international media on February 12 by the Crisis Action group, calling on China to press Khartoum on atrocities committed in Darfur.
 
The list of petitioners included Nobel peace prize winners, Olympians, politicians and celebrities.
 
The United Nations estimates that 200,000 people have died in Darfur from the combined effects of war, famine and disease since 2003, when a civil conflict erupted pitting government-backed Arab militias against non-Arab ethnic groups.
 
Khartoum puts the toll at 9,000.
Source:
Agencies
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