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Spielberg praised for ditching China Games.

HUMAN rights groups yesterday praised Hollywood director Steven Spielberg's decision to drop links with the Beijing Olympics because China was not doing enough to help end the Darfur crisis.

Spielberg's move marked a major setback for Beijing and its efforts to keep at bay a months-long campaign by activists to spotlight the authoritarian communist regime's human rights record.

Although not entirely unexpected, it caught Beijing organisers flat-footed.

Spielberg, whose 2005 film Munich dealt with the killings of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, said he had signed his contract to serve as an artistic adviser to the Games' opening and closing ceremonies in hopes that dialogue with China would produce results.

China is believed to have special influence with Sudan because it buys two-thirds of the country's oil exports, while selling the regime weapons and defending Khartoum in the UN.

"While China's representatives have conveyed to me that they are working to end the terrible tragedy in Darfur, the grim realities of the suffering continue unabated," Spielberg said.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Feb 14, 2008
Words:169
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