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.