then executed by gunshots to the groin. (Sudan Watch)
Film mogul Steven Spielberg made the most rattling move so far for the Communist Chinese government by pulling out as artistic advisor to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His objection: Beijing’s complicity in the genocide going on in Darfur, Sudan. This was by no means an unexpected move. He had urged China as far back as April last year to do more to press for change in Darfur.
Spielberg’s announcement came on the same day that nine Nobel Peace Prize laureates — including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel and Jody Williams — sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging China to uphold Olympic ideals by pressing Sudan to stop atrocities in Darfur.
I fully support Spielberg’s move. The PRC government must be held to account for its human rights abuses not just within its borders, but outside as well. Darfur is just one in a long string of human rights abuses which date back to the founding of the Communist state.
In more than four years of conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes. Just last Friday, Sudan’s government attacked three towns in Darfur, forcing about 200,000 people from their homes and leading thousands to flee into neighboring eastern Chad.
Closer to home, we are all aware of the role that China has played in propping up the Myanmar generals who are responsible for killing thousands of their own people and dragging their country down into an economic abyss. Not to mention their jailing of responsible journalists like The Straits Times’ Ching Cheong over trumped up charges, and not even giving him the benefit of an open trial to present his case.
China is trying to use the Olympics to show their world that they have arrived, that they are a superpower to be reckoned with, when their dismal human rights record clearly suggests otherwise.
The world should seize this window of opportunity to highlight China’s contribution to the suffering in the world. I hope that in the coming months, international pressure will be be ramped up on Beijing to force them to relook at their policies. I have no doubt that Ching Cheong’s early release was in part due to the upcoming Olympics. Imagine what more can be achieved if more influential personalities like Steven Spielberg stand up and tell China’s leaders that enough is enough.