WASHINGTON – A group of 108 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday that demanded China do more to persuade Sudan's government to stop the bloodletting in the Darfur region.
The letter suggested that unless China changes its policies in Sudan, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games could become a disaster for the Chinese rather than the image enhancer the Chinese government is expecting.
China is the largest investor in Sudan and a major beneficiary of its oil and construction contracts.
"Unfortunately, the PRC has reportedly been engaged in arms sales with the government of Sudan, arms which are used by government forces and the Janjaweed militia to maim and kill innocent Sudanese civilians," the letter said. PRC is the initials of China's formal name, the People's Republic of China.
"The international community is stepping up to its responsibilities, but unless China does its part to ensure that the government of Sudan accepts the best and most reasonable path to peace, history will judge your government as having bankrolled a genocide," the letter reads.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made homeless in four years of bloody attacks from Arab militias allegedly sponsored by President Omar al-Bashir's government. The attacks began after black African Sudanese rose to demand autonomy for the vast western Sudan region.
Among signatories of the letter were Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, and Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who organized the project. It was delivered to the Chinese Embassy on Wednesday.