IN OTHER WORDS
Two weeks before he goes to the Beijing Olympic Games, President Bush remains unacceptably silent about China’s crackdown on basic human rights. Emboldened by the complicity of Bush and other leaders, China is harassing or locking up critics, threatening journalists and selectively denying visas. We have not taken issue with Bush’s decision to attend the Olympics, which celebrate the human spirit and athletic excellence. But his refusal to speak out publicly and clearly about China’s repressive behaviour is an abdication of leadership.
Bush’s “freedom agenda” has always been selective. It has focused more on smaller countries than on major powers like China and Russia, whose help the administration needs on other matters. In 2005, the Bush administration wisely challenged China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system and to make its government responsible and accountable to its people.
After pulling his punches on the Olympics, aides say that Bush is expected to address the human-rights concern — maybe this week. It should not be an issue. Bush should make his views public. And if he attends church in Beijing, as his staff says he might, he should also meet the families of jailed dissidents. This may be his last chance to take a stand on China and human rights. — The New York Times