China Says Linking Darfur To Beijing Olympics ‘Unfair’

BEIJING : Efforts to link China and the Beijing Olympics with the deadly violence in Darfur are “irresponsible and unfair,” according to an official statement published in the state-run press here Thursday.

The statement, issued by the Chinese embassy in Washington, came after US film-maker Steven Spielberg severed his links with the Games over China’s ties to the government of Sudan, accused of genocide in its Darfur region.

“As the Darfur issue is not an internal affair of China, nor was it caused by China, to link the two together is utterly unreasonable, irresponsible and unfair,” said the statement published in Thursday’s Global Times, a sister paper of the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily.

The embassy’s statement echoes previous Chinese government statements when asked about its close ties to Khartoum.

By Thursday, China’s foreign ministry and the Beijing Olympic media office had yet to release an official statement on Spielberg’s move to abandon his role as an artistic director to the Games opening and closing ceremonies.

In announcing his decision on Tuesday, Spielberg said the international community, and particularly China, “should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering” in Darfur.

Spielberg’s announcement came as Nobel Prize winners and Olympic athletes separately urged Chinese President Hu Jintao in a letter to pressure Sudan to end atrocities in Darfur.

The United Nations estimates 200,000 people have died in Darfur from the combined effects of war, famine and disease since 2003, when a civil conflict erupted pitting government-backed Arab militias against non-Arab ethnic groups. – AFP/ch

Channel News Asia

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