02/20/2008 at 09:00 AM EST
Steven Spielberg's decision to withdraw from his position as an artistic director for this summer's Beijing Olympics over the country's policies in Darfur is drawing fire from China's state-controlled media and its public, reports the Associated Press.
While the Chinese government has not officially criticized the filmmaker, a front-page editorial Wednesday in the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the Communist Party's newspaper, says: "A certain Western director was very naive and made an unreasonable move toward the issue of the Beijing Olympics. This is perhaps because of his unique Hollywood characteristics."
Equally damning, China Youth Daily also editorialized: "This renowned film director is famous for his science fiction. But now it seems he lives in a world of science fiction and he can't distinguish a dream from reality."
There has not been a comment from Spielberg, 61, on these latest developments.
The Darfur conflict between rebels and militias backed by government forces has already claimed more than 200,000 people. China's influence is believed to extend to Sudanese leaders.
– Stephen M. Silverman