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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Spielberg urges China over Darfur
Steven Spielberg
Spielberg said China was "uniquely positioned" to act
Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg has become the latest Hollywood figure to call for an end to the killing in the Darfur region of Sudan.

In a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao, the 60-year-old film-maker called on China to pressure the African nation into accepting UN peacekeepers.

The UN estimates that 200,000 people have died and a further two million displaced in the conflict since 2003.

Spielberg is serving as an artistic advisor to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"I add my voice to those who ask that China change its policy toward Sudan," he wrote in a letter that was sent last month but released to the media on Friday.

China should be a clear advocate for United Nations action to bring the genocide in Darfur to an end
Steven Spielberg

He went on to ask the Sudanese government "to accept the entrance of United Nations peacekeepers to protect the victims of genocide in Darfur".

The Schindler's List director said the issue of genocide was especially close to him due to his work with the Los Angeles-based USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

The institute, based in Los Angeles, has collected videotaped testimonies of around 52,000 Holocaust survivors from 56 countries.

Its mission, said Spielberg, is "to use those testimonies to overcome intolerance, prejudice, bigotry and the suffering they cause".

Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow has criticised Spielberg for his role in the 2008 Olympics
"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 has major oil interests in Sudan and has been accused of blocking moves to end the violence in Darfur.

Spielberg's letter follows criticism from actress Mia Farrow, who attacked his involvement in the 2008 Olympics in a Wall Street Journal article in March.

"Does Mr Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games?" she wrote, likening the director to the Nazi-backed filmmaker who chronicled the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

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