Zhang Yimou, arguably China's leading film director, has called Steven Spielberg's decision to quit his post as an artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics "very regrettable." Spielberg linked his decision to withdraw from the Olympics' production team to China's relationship with Sudan, whose war against dissident factions has reportedly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Spielberg's decision was also criticized by Olympic gold medalist (badminton) Ge Fei, now a member of the Chinese legislature. "The Olympics is simply a sporting event," he told the official Xinhua news agency. "Political issues shouldn't be involved in it."