May 12, 2007 / 12:04 AM / 10 years ago

Spielberg joins Hollywood chorus on Darfur

3 Min Read

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES, May 11 (Reuters) - Director Steven Spielberg

on Friday joined the chorus of Hollywood stars seeking an end

to killing in the Darfur region of Sudan by calling on China to

pressure the African nation into accepting U.N. peacekeepers.

Spielberg, the Oscar-winning director of blockbuster films

ranging from "Jaws" to "Schindler's List," released a letter he

sent to Chinese President Hu Jintao in April saying he recently

came to understand China's strategic support of Sudan.

The letter comes at a time when Beijing is preparing for

the 2008 Olympic Games, and some groups and politicians around

the world are urging a boycott due to China's economic ties to

Sudan. In his letter, Spielberg notes he will play a role in

the Olympic Games as an "artistic advisor."

"I add my voice to those who ask that China change its

policy toward Sudan and pressure the Sudanese government to

accept the entrance of United Nations peacekeepers to protect

the victims of genocide in Darfur," Spielberg wrote.

He asked to meet with Hu, but so far the Chinese president

has not responded, said Spielberg's spokesman, Marvin Levy.

Levy said he was certain Hu received and read the letter.

Separately on Friday, celebrity couple Brad Pitt and

Angelina Jolie issued a statement saying their foundation

donated $1 million to agencies working in and around Darfur.

But Spielberg's involvement is new, and in his letter to

Hu, the director noted the issue of genocide is especially

close to him because of his work with the Los Angeles-based USC

Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

Spielberg established the foundation to document the plight

of Jews under the Nazis, and it has videotaped testimonies of

some 52,000 Holocaust survivors from 56 countries to chronicle

the atrocities committed against them.

Spielberg wrote that the mission of the foundation is "to

use those testimonies to overcome intolerance, prejudice,

bigotry and the suffering they cause."

"We are doing that now in many countries around the world,

and I hope that China will someday be one of them," he said.

China buys much of Sudan's oil and has used its veto power

on the U.N. Security Council to resist sending peacekeepers to

the region without the African country's consent.

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