Chinese Olympic authorities have finally gone public with their reaction to American mega-director Steven Spielberg’s decision to resign as artistic director for the 2008 Games, and it boils down to this: Too bad, but we don’t need him anyway. From Reuters via Yahoo:
China voiced its disappointment on Thursday over movie director Steven Spielberg’s decision to quit his Beijing Olympics role because of China’s policies in Sudan and said the Games would be a success regardless.
“We express regret,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference. “All preparation work for the Beijing Olympics is proceeding smoothly. The Chinese people are willing to work with artists from around the world with wisdom and talent and the Olympic Games will be a success.”
Not content to suggest Spielberg may be lacking “wisdom and talent,” Beijing also accuses him of having a hidden agenda, without saying exactly what that might be. The BBC:
“It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government policy on Darfur, but I am afraid that some people may have ulterior motives, and this we cannot accept,” [Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao] told a news conference.
“China is also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Darfur. [But] empty rhetoric will not help. We hope that relevant people will be more pragmatic.”
Meanwhile, in a separate report , Reuters quotes US President George Bush as insisting the Olympics are about sport not politics: “There are a lot of issues that I suspect people are going to opine about during the Olympics — the Dalai Lama crowd, you’ve got the Global Warming folks, you got Darfur…I am not going to go and use the Olympics as an opportunity to express my opinions to the Chinese people in a public way because I do it all the time with the President.”