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China says "regretful" over Spielberg's withdrawal
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14:07, February 15, 2008

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China says "regretful" over Hollywood movie director Steven Spielberg's withdrawal from 2008 Beijing Olympics as an artistic advisor.

The American big shot movie director announced his decision to quit the coming Olympics on Wednesday, citing concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, which he linked to the Chinese government.

"We express regret (for his decision)," China Daily quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao as saying.

Responding to recent remarks by some Westerners linking China to Darfur, Liu said China has "noticed these or those discussions and moves on China's stance on Darfur".

"It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government's policy on Darfur," he said. "But we can't accept that some people want to use this as an opportunity to link Darfur to China's Africa and Sudan policies, and even to the Beijing Olympic Games."

Liu said China has been working with the United Nations to resolve the Darfur crisis.

"China is also concerned about the humanitarian crisis there, but we have been playing a positive and constructive role in promoting peace in Darfur," he said.

China has so far offered 11.1 million US dollars in humanitarian aid to Sudan, Liu said. Chinese firms have also offered help.

China National Electric Equipment Corporation has already completed 18 small-scale power plants in Darfur and two more are under way.

In addition, Beijing is sending 315 engineering troops to the region, 140 of which have already arrived.

Last year, when Sudan and the UN differed over the deployment of hybrid peacekeeping forces, China sent a special envoy several times to Khartoum to persuade the government to accept the UN resolution.

"On the issue of Darfur, empty rhetoric will not help," Liu said. "What is more important is to do more things to help with the peace process there and alleviate the humanitarian crisis."

The moves "disgusted" ordinary Chinese, citing the Chinese-language current affairs newspaper Global Times, in an article summarizing the response of the Chinese public to the decision by Spielberg and some other Westerners to boycott the Beijing Olympics.

"Western exploitation of the Olympics to pressure China immediately provoked much disgust among ordinary Chinese people," the paper quoted.

"The vast majority of Chinese people have expressed bafflement and outrage at the Western pressure. In ordinary Chinese' eyes, it is totally ridiculous to place the Darfur issue, so many thousands of kilometers away, on China's shoulders," it said.

The newspaper quoted Professor Jin Canrong from the Renmin University of China as saying that linking Darfur issue to the Olympics shows some Western countries were exploiting their "media hegemony" to whip up prejudice.

Source: Xinhua

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