Speak out:

China has cracked down on Tibet and neighbouring provinces. It sent more troops into restive regions and made scores of arrests in Lhasa. It acknowledged firing on demonstrators in Sichuan. Yet, the response of the international community - and of the International Olympic Committee - has been tepid. Beijing must be called to account, especially since it will host the 2008 Games.

The US and other major countries must go beyond anaemic statements urging Chinese restraint. They must make it clear that such repression violates the promise Beijing made

to improve its human rights record. It mocks the Olympic Charter, which extols “human dignity.”

It mocks the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognises “equal and inalienable rights of all.”

Inexcusably, the International Olympic Committee has done little to defend its values and has stuck with plans to have the Olympic torch pass through Lhasa. Boycotting the Olympic Games does not work; we know that from experience. But the idea of Bernard Kouchner, France’s foreign minister, about not attending the opening ceremony is worth considering. What message does it send if president Bush and other dignitaries lend their prestige to China’s coming out party as if nothing happened in Tibet? — The New York Times