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Spielberg Steps Down as Consultant to Beijing Olympics


U.S. film director Stephen Spielberg has stepped down as artistic consultant to the Beijing Olympics due to China's policy on Sudan and the conflict in Darfur.

Spielberg said his conscience will not allow him to continue in the position because he believes China has not been active enough in resolving the crisis in Darfur.

Human Rights Watch says Spielberg's decision should prompt other influential people to press China to reform.

On Tuesday, a group of Nobel Peace laureates, politicians and Olympic athletes called on China to use its influence on Sudan to help end ongoing violence in Darfur.

In a separate open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao released Tuesday, more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives called on China to take stronger action to end the Darfur violence.

Critics say China has repeatedly used its veto power in the United Nations Security Council to prevent tough punitive measures against Sudan. China is Sudan's biggest foreign trading partner, importing nearly two-thirds of that country's oil.

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