The government Thursday expressed regret over the decision by
Hollywood movie director Steven Spielberg to quit as an artistic
advisor to the Beijing Olympics Games.
The American announced his decision on Wednesday, citing
concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, which he linked to China.
"We express regret (for his decision)," Foreign Ministry
spokesman Liu Jianchao said Thursday at a regular briefing.
Responding to recent remarks by some Westerners linking China to
Darfur, Liu said China has "noticed these or those discussions and
moves on China's stance on Darfur".
"It is understandable if some people do not understand the
Chinese government's policy on Darfur," he said. "But we can't
accept that some people want to use this as an opportunity to link
Darfur to China's Africa and Sudan policies, and even to the Beijng
Liu said China has been working with the United Nations to
resolve the Darfur crisis.
"China is also concerned about the humanitarian crisis there,
but we have been playing a positive and constructive role in
promoting peace in Darfur."
China has so far offered $11.1 million in humanitarian aid to
Sudan, Liu said. Chinese firms have also offered aid.
China National Electric Equipment Corporation has completed 18
small-scale power plants in Darfur and two more are under
In addition, Beijing will send 315 engineering troops to the
region, 140 of which have already arrived.
Last year, when Sudan and the UN differed over the deployment of
hybrid peacekeeping forces, China sent a special envoy several
times to Khartoum to persuade the government to accept the UN
"On the issue of Darfur, empty rhetoric will not help," Liu
said. "What is more important is to do more things to help with the
peace process there and alleviate the humanitarian crisis."
In an article summarizing the response of the Chinese public to
the decision by Spielberg and some other Westerners to boycott the
Beijing Olympics, the Chinese-language current affairs newspaper
Global Times Thursday said the moves have "disgusted" ordinary
"Western exploitation of the Olympics to pressure China
immediately provoked much disgust among ordinary Chinese people,"
the paper said.
"The vast majority of Chinese people have expressed bafflement
and outrage at the Western pressure. In ordinary Chinese' eyes, it
is totally ridiculous to place the Darfur issue, so many thousands
of kilometers away, on China's shoulders," it said.
The newspaper quoted Professor Jin Canrong from the Renmin
University of China as saying that linking Darfur to the Olympics
shows some Western countries were exploiting their "media hegemony"
to whip up prejudice.
"Whoever uses this humanitarian issue to criticize China and put
pressure on China gains something of a halo," Jin was quoted as
"The West has seized on China's tremendous emphasis on the
Olympic Games to criticize China."
Treaty on preventing arms race in outer space
China hoped that a draft treaty on preventing an arms race in
outer space would receive a positive response from relevant
countries, Liu said.
Liu was responding to a question on the United States' rejection
of a call for a new treaty to ban the use of weapons in outer
Russia and China on Tuesday jointly submitted to an UN-sponsored
disarmament conference a proposal for an international treaty to
ban the deployment of weapons in outer space.
The draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons
in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space
Objects (PPWT), was presented at a plenary session of the
Conference on Disarmament. That is the world's sole multilateral
forum for disarmament negotiations, and its function is to prevent
the weaponization of, or an arms race in, outer space and to
safeguard peace and stability there.
Liu said that Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov have elaborated on their stances on the issue, and Yang
stressed that a new treaty would be conducive to the common
interests of all countries.
It is necessary for the international community to create a new
legal document to strengthen the current legal system concerning
outer space, Liu noted.
China hoped that the Conference on Disarmament would conduct
substantial discussions on the draft treaty as soon as possible and
reach a consensus, Liu said.
Liu said that such a draft treaty was of positive significance
to world peace and stability as well as the peaceful use of outer
US spying charges 'groundless'
China rejected the US allegations of espionage, saying the
charges were "groundless" and "with ulterior motives".
"We urged the United States to abandon its Cold War thinking and
stop groundless accusations and instead contribute to increasing
mutual trust and friendship between our two peoples," Liu said.
"For a period of time, certain country has made irresponsible
fabrication on this issue and staged some farces," he said, adding
"I think everyone is now tired of these farces which should come to
The US Justice Department said Monday that four people were
arrested in the United States on charges of spying for China in two
Dumpling poisoning case
China and Japan have sufficient wisdom to properly resolve the
dumpling poisoning case in Japan, said Liu.
"I believe the incident will not have impact on the upcoming
high-level visit between the two countries," Liu said.
Liu said the incident was an "isolated case" rather than a
systematic food safety problem, judging from investigation
He said China has taken a highly-responsible attitude toward the
issue and carried out investigations immediately after learning the
dumpling poisoning case in Japan.
He called on both sides to form a joint team to make further
investigations into the case.
"Finding out the truth is vital to rebuilding Japanese
consumers' confidence in Chinese products and to normal economic
and trade cooperation between the two countries," Liu said.
Japanese media reports said 10 Japanese people fell ill in
December and January after consuming frozen meat dumplings produced
by Tianyang Food Plant based in north China's Hebei Province.
Japanese authorities found the insecticide methamidophos in the
vomit of those poisoned and in food packages at their houses.
Tests, however, showed the rest of the dumplings from the same
batches sold in Japan, totaling more than 2,000 packages, were
safe. So were all the other products made by the Chinese
UN special advisor to Myanmar's coming visit
Ibrahim Gambari, special advisor of the United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will visit China from Feb. 18 to 19,
according to Liu.
Liu said the Chinese side would exchange views with Gambari on
the situation in Myanmar and the meditation of the UN
He said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Ban Ki-moon talked over
the phone on Wednesday night on the visit of Gambari, as well as
the situation in Myanmar.
The two sides agreed that the UN secretary-general should
continue the meditating role, according to Liu.
The spokesman said Yang and Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi would
meet Gambari during his visit.
China has noticed the Myanmar government was moving forward the
process of democracy, and hoped it will promote the national
reconciliation and achieve democracy and development, Liu said.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency February 15,