After Steven Spielberg made the decision to pull his participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics (based on China’s iffy commitment to helping end the crisis in Darfur), we all wondered what the reaction might be. As expected, the Chinese were none too pleased — though the government has been mum. Instead, it’s the state-controlled media that’s had a field day with Speilberg’s decision; calling the move ‘naive’ and ‘unreasonable’. In other words, they’re embarrassed and Speilberg’s action has done exactly what he hoped it would: draw more attention to China’s lack of involvement in the Darfur crisis. From the article,
“China often uses its newspapers to make statements it does not want to officially comment on. But the issue also has exploded on the Internet, where scores of Chinese have been quick to add their criticism of Spielberg. ‘We should have never invited him in the first place,’ was one retort on Sina.com, the country’s largest Internet portal. Others asked why China’s Olympic Games were being linked to Darfur. ‘Spielberg used the sacred Olympics as a tool. There are so many simpler or more complicated issues than the Darfur issue in the world,’ one said. ‘I rarely heard him say anything. Why was he so keen this time?’”
There are so many simpler or more complicated issues? Could you be any more vague or insensitive? Obviously, the fact that over 200,000 people have died in this conflict is a mere blip on this person’s radar of world events.
I commend Spielberg for making the decision he has. China’s humanitarian record is still dismal — and they have to understand that just because they’re hosting a sports event does not mean the rest of the world should mask criticism of even greater importance. Give Steve the gold and give these guys a cup to catch their tears.