Christian Living

chinaconnection 02/13/08

Spielberg Steps Down as Olympic Adviser

He's brought the world some of its most memorable films, from Jaws to Jurassic Park, and was set to direct one of the most impressive visual spectaulars ever: this year's Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

Yesterday that Olympic dream has been deferred, as Spielberg has resigned from his role as the Olympic Games' artistic adviser, because, according to his statement "my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual." 

According to Spielberg, "at this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

Not surprisingly, the response from China hasn't been the most positive.  Many Chinese leaders been very critical of individuals and organizations that have linked China to the genocide and atrocitiies in Darfur.  From their perspective, China has had constructive involvement in Sudan, and if anything, they've improved the condition. 

If the multiple protests by activists and criticism from Congress are any indication, much of the international community disagrees with China's point of view.  They say that China should use its relationship with Sudan to do more.  Many human rights groups have praised Spielberg for his decision to pull out of the Games.

Last April Spielberg wrote a letter to China's President Hu Jintao, asking leaders to wield their influence in Sudan to put an end to the genocide.  Subsequently, China did deploy more peacekeepers within the region. On the other hand, in 2007 its trade volume with Sudan doubled.

While Spielberg's decision not to advise for the Games probably won't be strongly felt in Beijing this August amidst all of the fanfare and electricity, chances are that Chinese movie audiences won't be seeing many Spielberg movies this year.

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