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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Spielberg 'may quit Olympic role'
Steven Spielberg
Spielberg is waiting for a response from the Chinese government
Film-maker Steven Spielberg may quit as artistic director of the Beijing Olympics unless China takes a tougher stance against Sudan, reports ABC News.

China, a major investor in Sudan's oil industry, has been criticised for not sending UN peacekeepers to the country's troubled Darfur region.

"Steven will make a determination in the next few weeks regarding his work with the Chinese," his spokesman said.

"Our main interest is ending the genocide," Andy Spahn told abcnews.com.

"No one is clear on the best way to do this."

Does Mr Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games?
Actress Mia Farrow, writing in the Wall Street Journal in May

Human rights groups have accused China of selling weapons to Sudan that have ended up in Darfur.

"Steven is one (of) many advisers to the Beijing Games and he is trying to use the games to engage the Chinese on this issue," said Mr Spahn.

He added that the two parties were engaged in "private dialogue" and that Spielberg expected to hear from the Chinese government "sometime soon, very soon".

Colonialist claims

The film-maker wrote to Chinese president Hu Jintao in May, calling on China to pressure Sudan into accepting UN peacekeepers, but this is the first time he has said he is considering leaving his Olympic role.

His letter followed criticism from actress Mia Farrow, who attacked his involvement in the 2008 Olympics in an article in the Wall Street Journal in March.

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

Last month China announced plans to launch a $1bn (500m) fund to increase trade and investment in Africa, but the move prompted accusations of modern day colonialism.




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