After months of criticism, Steven Spielberg has withdrawn from his role as an artistic adviser to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, because of China's connection to the government in Sudan and the controversy over Darfur:
"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual," Spielberg said in a statement issued on a day when Nobel Peace laureates sent a letter to China's president urging a change in policies toward its ally Sudan.China is accused of providing diplomatic cover for Sudan's government as it stonewalls international efforts to send peace keepers into Darfur. China is also a leading oil customer and supplier of weapons to Sudan.
"At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur," he added.
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In his statement on Tuesday, Spielberg said Sudan's government shouldered the bulk of responsibility for "these ongoing crimes" in Darfur but said China "should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there."