China expressed its “regets” at the decision of Steven Spielberg not to attend the Olympics as a response to failure to act in Darfur and the Chinese government’s continued support of Sudan. President Bush said he had no hesitation attending the Olympic games and “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.” Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao complained those supporting action in Darfur did not grasp how much China is doing to help solve the humanitarian crisis in that region. It has already sent 315 engineering troops to Darfur.
Many Chinese leaders simply do not believe it is fair to place the Darfur crisis on their shoulders snce it is an event happening far away in a region having nothing to do with China. As one Chinese defender put it: “The West has seized on China’s tremendous emphasis on the Olympic Games to criticize China.”
Back in 1980, President Jimmy Carter protested the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by urging a boycott of the Olympic Games that were being held in Russia. China sells weapons to the Sudan and it purchases large amounts of oil. If it threatened a boycott there would be action on the part of the Sudan government. But, Spielberg and others are not merely concerned with Darfur, they want the Chinese government to cease harassing dissidents and allow greater freedom within their nation– things they promised when awarded the Olympic Games and things so far not done. It is refreshing to learn our beloved president never allows politicsl to get in the way of what he does.