Spielberg Sparks Storm Over China's Darfur Role

Pressure mounts for pre-Olympics change
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2008 4:28 AM CST
Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, right, tours the construction site of Beijing's National Stadium with Chinese film maker Zhang Yimou, center, and Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice president of the Beijing...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Human rights groups praised Hollywood's Steven Spielberg yesterday for stepping down as artistic director of the Beijing Olympics due to China's ongoing support for the Sudanese regime. His move has opened the floodgates to a deluge of criticism over China's involvement in Darfur, giving the Chinese government a taste of what's likely to come during this summer's games, the Guardian reports.

Human Rights Watch called for Olympic corporate sponsors "to use their considerable leverage" to pressure China to "uphold the human rights pledges it made to bring the games to Beijing," claiming companies who don't take action "put their reputations at risk." Following Spielberg's lead, some athletes have already vowed to speak out against their host, which China is eager to avoid.