China has gone to extraordinary lengths to spruce up its image before next month’s Olympics: shuttering factories to reduce air pollution, mopping up algae in sailing waters, harassing critics and threatening journalists. To win the right to host the Games, Beijing promised to expand press freedoms for foreign reporters and implied that opening China to the world would help expand human rights more generally.

The International Olympic Committee, corporate sponsors and governments around the world should have held China to its word. They have not, and China has read their silence as complicity. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 10 foreign journalists, including Newsweek’s China bureau chief, have received anonymous death threats since they reported on the violence in Tibet.

Apart from China, no one deserves criticism more than the International Olympic Committee, which has indulged Beijing at every turn. The committee still has time to put in place minimal protections -- like a 24-hour hot line for journalists to report violations of media freedoms. Even with all of the intimidation, human rights advocates (and maybe some athletes) will likely try to use the Games to protest China’s repression. Beijing needs to know that the world will be watching how it handles that bit of reality TV.