Steven Spielburg withdraws as artistic advisor to Beijing Olympics

kida

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China has expressed regret over film director Steven Spielberg's decision to pull out as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics over the Darfur issue.

The foreign ministry said "ulterior motives" may be behind criticism of its links with Sudan.

The director said his conscience would not allow him to continue in his role.
China has strong economic and military ties with Sudan, which campaigners say it should use to put pressure on Khartoum to resolve the Darfur crisis.

A UK newspaper has published a letter from 80 Nobel laureates and artists urging Beijing to help end the conflict.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said: "We have taken notice that recently there have been many controversies and actions involving China and Darfur.

"It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government policy on Darfur, but I am afraid that some people may have ulterior motives, and this we cannot accept," he told a news conference.

"China is also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Darfur. [But] empty rhetoric will not help. We hope that relevant people will be more pragmatic."
...
Sudan denies backing the Janjaweed militia and says the suffering in Darfur has been exaggerated.

Sudan sells some two-thirds of its oil to Beijing, while Beijing sells weapons to the Sudanese government and has blocked efforts to pressure Khartoum in the UN Security Council.

Campaigners say arms sold by China to the Sudanese government that have been used in Darfur.
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