NEW YORK, AFP

U.S. actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow blasted corporations and director Steven Spielberg Wednesday for helping China stage the 2008 Olympic Games despite Beijing’s support for Sudan’s government.

Farrow wrote in a Wall Street Journal column that Spielberg, a special consultant for the games, and corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s should join calls for China to use its leverage over Khartoum to protect civilians in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region.

“That so many corporate sponsors want the world to look away from that atrocity during the games is bad enough,” Farrow, who has traveled twice to Darfur, wrote in a piece co-signed by her son, Ronan.

“But equally disappointing is the decision of artists like director Steven Spielberg — who quietly visited China this month as he prepares to help stage the Olympic ceremonies — to sanitize Beijing’s image,” they wrote in the column titled “The Genocide Olympics.”

“Is Mr. Spielberg, who in 1994 founded the Shoah Foundation to record the testimony of survivors of the Holocaust, aware that China is bankrolling Darfur’s genocide?”

Farrow warned the American director and Oscar winner for the Holocaust film “Schindler’s List” that he risked becoming a modern version of Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, known for her 1936 Berlin games film “Olympia.”

“Does Mr. Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games?” they wrote.

“Do the various television sponsors around the world want to share in that shame? Because they will. Unless, of course, all of them add their singularly well-positioned voices to the growing calls for Chinese action to end the slaughter in Darfur.”

“Imagine if such calls were to succeed in pushing the Chinese government to use its leverage over Sudan to protect civilians in Darfur,” the Farrows wrote.

“The 2008 Beijing Olympics really could become an occasion for pride and celebration, a truly international honoring of the authentic spirit of ‘one world’ and ‘one dream,’” they wrote, referring to the Games’ slogan.

According to the United Nations, at least 200,00O people have died and more than two million been displaced since the conflict between rebels and government forces erupted in Darfur in February 2003.