- The Washington Times - Monday, July 30, 2007

Steven Spielberg is reconsidering his artistic position with the Beijing Games after learning that China’s communist government is not exactly a champion of human rights and supplies the Sudanese military junta with the arms to ethnically cleanse the province of Darfur.

Spielberg’s 11th-hour education was encouraged in part by Mia Farrow, the one-woman adoption agency who criticized the Hollywood director in an op-ed piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal in March.

Farrow wrote: “Does Mr. Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games?”

That is putting it harshly, considering Spielberg was not solicited to extol the virtue of the Chinese state, only to lend his expertise on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Games.

This is a predictable foray to politicize the Beijing Games, as politics and the Olympics are forever intertwined.

China wants to put on a good show next summer, if only to demonstrate to the rest of the world how far it has advanced since its days as a nation of bicycles.

Now China’s carbon footprint is enough to send shivers down the back of Al Gore and the Live Earth rockers who travel by private jet but plant trees to atone for their environmental sins.

Alas, China’s economic advances vastly exceed its advances in human rights.

You could ask Zheng Xiaoyu if he had not been executed earlier this month.

Zheng was China’s top and food and drug regulator who became a political liability following a series of news reports detailing the dangerous drugs and pet food coming into the U.S. from our Far East friends.

It was not made known whether Zheng took a bullet to the back of his head or was eliminated by lethal injection, but perhaps his demise passed the keen mind of Spielberg.

Spielberg is against all forms of human suffering, starting with the Holocaust, as his Shoah Foundation attests.

But it is not always easy to be consistent as a celebrity activist, especially if vanity collides with the favored cause of Hollywood.

Darfur is the cause of the moment in Hollywood, just as Tibet once was.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle all have taken an interest in Darfur, although it would not be in their professional interests to question the brain power of Spielberg, as Farrow did.

Spielberg could have another Private Ryan-like epic in him, and who wouldn’t want to be cast in an art form that makes the stunning revelation that war is fairly awful?

At least Tom Hanks’ character was able to fire a pistol as a tank made its way to him.

The tank man of Tiananmen Square was not even packing a light arm.

Maybe Spielberg missed the tank man’s showdown with the Chinese government.

Spielberg fired off a letter to China President Hu Jintao after the Farrow op-ed piece, asking China to “pressure the Sudanese government to accept the entrance of United Nations peacekeepers to protect the victims of genocide in Darfur.”

His spokesman recently released the contents of the letter and let it be known Spielberg could leave his post with the Beijing Games if the Chinese government does not mend its ways.

While Spielberg is on the subject of improving China’s behavior, he might as well add Tibet and Taiwan to his list of conditions.

If China is unable to persuade Sudan to be nice to Darfur, then Spielberg will have no choice but to quit and Angelina Jolie will be forced to speak out anew in defense of the region.

And that potential outcome will not help Start Loving, the name-change man who maintains a lonely vigil outside the Sudanese Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest, with two massive placards draped on his shoulders.

Loving wants everyone to start loving in Darfur.

Perhaps then he could move to the front of another country’s embassy to do what he does, and Spielberg could resume his Beijing relationship in peace.



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