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China Unsure Whether Spielberg Will Pull Out as Olympics Artistic Director


Organizers of next year's Olympics in Beijing say they do not know whether U.S. film director Steven Spielberg might resign as artistic director for the Games.

Beijing Organizing Committee director of cultural activities Zhao Dongming said at a news conference Wednesday that he "had not heard" that the Academy Award-winning director may pull out over Beijing's support of Sudan.

Spielberg sent an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao in April urging China to take a harder line against the Sudanese government because of the conflict in Darfur. Last week, Spielberg's spokesman told ABC News that the director has "all options on the table."

The spokesman said Spielberg's final decision will depend on a statement about Sudan by the Chinese government. China buys oil from Sudan and supplies the Khartoum government with weapons.

China has been criticized for supporting the African nation while the United Nations estimates more than 200,000 people have died and more than two million have been displaced in Darfur during four years of conflict.

Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council voted to authorize up to 26,000 peacekeepers in Darfur in the largest peacekeeping operation in the world.

Spielberg, the director of the Oscar-winning films Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler's List, has come under fire from other artists and activists for his part in the Beijing Games.

Actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow asked if Spielberg wanted to be the 2008 version of Leni Riefenstahl, a German filmmaker whose documentary Olympia about the 1936 Games was largely seen as Nazi Party propaganda.

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