Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spielberg presses China on Darfur

Steven Spielberg has quit his role as artistic advisor to the Beijing Olympics this summer to protest China's role in the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. China is widely seen as blocking serious international attempts at sanctions on the Sudanese government. Sudan supplies China with oil, and China needs every drop it can get to fuel its booming economy, so they will not support economic sanctions against Sudan.

Spielberg said his decision was motivated by concerns over human rights. Spielberg is a showman and a storyteller, so I have to give him credit for stepping away from an audience that will number in the billions. But I also have to ask what took him so long to realize what China was doing in Sudan? The crisis in Darfur began in 2003, and since then there has been talk (and more talk) about intervening to stop the conflict, yet little of merit has been done, largely because of China's interference. And if he wants to take a stand on China's human rights record, then why focus only on their indirect role in Darfur and not on their record at home of oppressing dissidents and ethnic minorities?
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