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Mia Farrow calls for boycott

May 2nd, 2008 · 1 Comment

Mia Farrow calls for Olympic opening boycott

HONG KONG (Reuters) – U.S. actress Mia Farrow expressed solidarity with Tibetans but said she was focused on pressuring China over its support for Sudan and called on world leaders to boycott the Olympics opening ceremony.

Farrow, best known for her roles in “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Hannah and Her Sisters”, last year became one of the first high profile figures to target the Beijing Games as a means of pressuring China for political leverage.

Her campaign to spur Beijing to use its influence on Sudan to put a stop to atrocities in Darfur helped prompt Hollywood director Steven Spielberg to quit as an adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies in August.

Other rights groups, most notably pro-Tibet supporters, have subsequently joined the chorus of complaints against China, turning Beijing’s buildup to the Games into public relations nightmare.

China says the Games should not be politicised.

Farrow’s activist group Dream for Darfur wants China, Sudan’s main oil customer, to press the Sudanese government to allow the full deployment of an international peacekeeping force and prevent attacks on civilians. Khartoum has been accused of impeding the deployment of peacekeepers.

“Responsible world leaders, if things are as they are now, should refrain from attending the opening ceremonies, especially President Bush, since he is my president and he represents the American people,” said Farrow, who came to Hong Kong to highlight the Darfur issue while the city hosts the Olympic torch.

“I’m encouraging people to call the White House and make their feelings felt. All the presidential candidates have expressed the same sentiment,” she told Reuters in an interview.

Her comments come after conservative and liberal members of Congress banded together on Thursday to urge a U.S. government boycott of the opening ceremonies, accusing Beijing of gross human rights violations.

PEACEKEEPERS, BOMBING

International experts estimate some 200,000 people have died in the violence in Darfur and that about 2.5 million have fled. Khartoum denies genocide and puts the death toll at 9,000.

“There’s no sort of pretty way to put this: China is underwriting the atrocities in Darfur,” said Farrow.

“China has leverage that no other country has. And we would wish China to use that leverage. And if they did, they could alter the course of history. They could end a genocide.”

China’s preparations for the Games were running smoothly until activists saw the torch relay’s 20-nation tour as an opportunity to express their disapproval of China’s foreign and domestic policies.

Many of the demonstrations have focused on Tibet after a rash of anti-Beijing protests and a riot in Lhasa in March cast a spotlight on the Himalayan region.

Farrow, also known for having been a longtime companion of director Woody Allen, expressed “solidarity” with Tibetans, but said for the moment she thought it was best to concentrate her energies on the relationship with Sudan.

“My focus has to be Darfur. For China, Darfur is relatively low hanging fruit. The two things we’re asking of China, they could do … They could get the peacekeepers in. They could persuade Khartoum to stop the bombing,” she said.

Tags: darfur

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