Quincy Jones stays with Beijing Summer Olympics

IN: Jones won’t forsake Olympics.
IN: Jones won’t forsake Olympics.
(Evan Agostini / Getty Images)
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

WHATEVER anyone else decides, Quincy Jones said Friday that he will participate in the Beijing Olympics.

The musical legend has been under increasing pressure to withdraw as an artistic advisor to the Games because of China’s close ties with the Sudanese government, which is accused of carrying out genocide against its own people in Darfur. (Steven Spielberg announced in February that he was abandoning his Olympics role for that reason.)

In the wake of the violent clashes between Chinese troops and monks in Tibet in recent weeks, activists have stepped up their protests by calling for a boycott of the opening ceremonies.

But Jones, who has worked on numerous efforts globally during his long career to foster peace, said in a phone interview from New York that he believes he can be a more effective advocate for human rights if he maintains his involvement with the Games.

“In times like this, people have to sit down with each other and talk things out,” he said, making his first public statement on the matter. “It’s not about isolation. You don’t solve anything with isolation.”

He is set to make an extensive speech on his position at a gathering today of Chinese American leaders at the Committee of 100’s Annual Conference in Beverly Hills.

Jones said he has been reaching out to other Darfur advocates, such as Mia Farrow and George Clooney, to discuss his decision. He met with Chinese officials at the United Nations on Friday to reiterate his wish for peace in Darfur. Although Jones said he came to a different conclusion on the Games than did Spielberg, Jones said he respects the director’s decision to pull out.

“Everyone has to make their own decision . . . I’m sticking with this one until we get something done.”