Saturday, February 16, 2008

China and Darfur in Sudan

After Steven Spielberg’s announced withdrawal as advisor to the Beijing Olympics ceremony, the attention was on China’s involvement, or lack thereof, in Sudan. Below is a response from Professor Ling-chi Wang, retired from University of California, Berkeley:

Reports on the Spielberg decision gave the impression that what little China had done with Darfur was the result of Spielberg’s pressure. This is definitely not true.

It is true that China, unlike the U.S., is opposed to any interference in the internal affairs of other countries, but if necessary, it prefers doing it through the UN.

In fall 2006, long before Spielberg agreed to consider joining the Zhang Yimou team in Beijing, Wang Guangya, UN ambassador, helped secure Sudanese government acceptance of the Kofi Annan’s UN-AU peace-keeping plan.

President Hu Jintao also spoke directly with President Omar al-Bashir in Beijing in November and again in Khartoum in early 2007.

China had also planned to send Zhai Jun, Assistant Foreign Minister, to Sudan before the campaign against the “Genocide” Olympics began in April last year. Zhai toured the refugee camps and within a week Sudan agreed to the deployment of UN troops, including a Chinese component.

Later, Liu Guijin, a special envoy, was appointed as a special envoy for African affairs. In July, China voted for deployment of a 20,000 UN-AU force for Darfur and an end to aerial bombings by government forces.

See reaction from China.

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