Steven Spielberg steps down as artistic Olympic advisor
Steven Spielberg has quit his role as the artistic advisor to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, due to the country’s inertia in helping to end the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Spielberg said of his decision: ‘I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual. 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.
‘Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more.’
Earlier on Tuesday, campaigners including actress Mia Farrow signed an open letter to China’s president via the United Nations, asking him to sever ties with Sudan – a country that sells China two-thirds of its oil.
The actress said: ‘I’m delighted by his decision and it’s a desperate time for Darfur so this is a shred of good news in a very bleak week.
‘Through his participation with the games it was clear that he was giving his moral cover to Beijing at a time when they’re underwriting genocide in Darfur. So I hoped that he would discontinue his participation with the games.’
At least 200,000 people have been killed and two million forced from their homes in the five-year conflict.