China expresses regret over Spielberg pullout

Beijing, Feb 14: China expressed regret on Thursday over US film-maker Steven Spielberg's decision to sever his ties with the Olympic Games because of the violence in Darfur.

"We regret his decision," foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao said, two days after Spielberg quit his post as artistic advisor to the Games' opening and closing ceremonies.In a statement on Tuesday, Spielberg said that China should do more to urge the Sudanese government to resolve the humanitarian crisis in its western region of 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 to end the continuing human suffering," Spielberg said.

But China defended its record on Sudan, saying it had worked hard to bring peace there.

"The Chinese government has made unremitting efforts to resolve the Darfur issue, an obvious fact to the international community, which holds unprejudiced opinions on this issue," said Zhu Jing, a spokesperson from the Olympic organising committee (BOCOG).

She said that Darfur should not be linked to the August 8-24 Games.

"Linking the Darfur issue to the Olympic Games will not help to resolve this issue and is not in line with the Olympic spirit that separates sports from politics," she said.

Spielberg's withdrawal coincided with another blow to China from Nobel Prize winners and Olympic athletes critical of Beijing's record on Darfur who addressed a letter Tuesday to China's president Hu Jintao.

OneIndia News

Read more about: 2008 beijing olympics sudan
Story first published: Thursday, February 14, 2008, 15:19 [IST]
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