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Steven Spielberg to Hu Jintao on Darfur, Nov. 2007
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His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu, Beijing City
People's Republic of China
November 15, 2007
It has been several months since I last wrote expressing my concerns about the human tragedy in the Darfur region of Sudan, where more than 200,000 people have died and more than 2.5 million people have been displaced. In the intervening months, I corresponded with Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, and traveled to New York to meet privately with Special Envoy Liu Guijin. His appointment and China's support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 were hopeful and appreciated signs that China was willing to use its influence to bring an end to the genocide in the region. I, and much of the rest of the world, felt a sense of optimism and hoped it would bring a lasting peace to the region.
Unfortunately, since that time, the situation in Darfur has deteriorated and while China's earlier efforts were encouraging, its silence in the wake of Sudan's recent actions and the resulting chaos on the ground has been disturbing. Sudan is continuing to defy the international community, creating obstacles to the deployment of peacekeepers, increasing violent campaigns against Darfuris and expelling humanitarian officials essential to the very survival of millions of desperate citizens.
This week the United Nations warned that unless Sudan quickly accepts the hybrid peacekeeping force and key countries contribute critical equipment needed for the peacekeeping efforts, the force will not be prepared for deployment in January 2008 - already two long months away. So I write to you now with a renewed sense of urgency in the hope that China will redouble its efforts to pressure Sudan to join in a fair peace agreement and, at last, bring an end to the genocide.
China's economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide you with the influence and the obligation to press for change. Please urge Sudan to accept - and rapidly facilitate - the United Nations authorized hybrid force and please join with other nations to contribute the much needed helicopters and heavy transport vehicles needed to conduct these peacekeeping missions. Without China's insistence, I fear Sudan will simply "wait out the clock."
I believe the decisive hour for Darfur is now. There must be meaningful and measurable progress on the ground for Darfuris within the next few weeks. The world needs China to lead here. So many lives are at stake.
CC: Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
Special Envoy Liu Guijin
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Andy Spahn, 818-733-7336
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