Spielberg Drops out as Beijing Olympics Advisor over Darfur

World | February 13, 2008, Wednesday // 00:00
Spielberg Drops out as Beijing Olympics Advisor over Darfur Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has withdrawn as an advisor to the ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games protesting over China's support to the Sudanese government. Photo by rte.ie

Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has withdrawn as an advisor to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games protesting over China's support of the Sudanese government and the escalating violence in the Darfur region.

"Sudan's government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more," Spielberg said in a statement as cited by CNN.

"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with 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," Spielberg added.

China has been criticised over Darfur as Beijing purchases the vast majority of Sudan's oil and sells arms to the government in Khartoum, which supports the Islamic janjaweed militia launching attacks on civilians.

The U.N. estimates that 200,000 to 400,000 people have died in the conflict and about 2.5 million people have been displaced in the Darfur region.

Several humanitarian groups had been critical of Spielberg for continuing to work on the games, even as the Sudanese military said it bombed three towns in West Darfur last week.

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