Light a Torch

If he attends the opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Beijing, President Bush will miss an opportunity . . . an opportunity to protest the Chinese government’s crackdown and jailing of dissidents in Tibet and elsewhere.

On the eve of Olympic festivities, China jailed oft-detained human rights activist Hu Jia for “inciting subversion of state power.”

A spokesman for the International Olympics Committee says Hu’s fate is a “matter of Chinese law,” that there should be a “big, fat, red line” between sports and politics. But by keeping mum the IOC is indeed making a statement. Just as they did when they picked China as the Olympic venue. They’re giving the Chinese government a green light.

At the same time, though, IOC vice president Kevin Gosper urges China to lift any censorship of the Internet during the games. It’s fine before and after the games, I guess. Gosper also objects to a law under which the Chinese can detain anyone, including athletes and ticket-holders, for up to two days without informing anybody.

That fat red line stretches thin.

Democrats like Hillary Clinton urge President Bush to skip the opening Olympic ceremony. Is she sincere or an opportunist? Doesn’t matter. In this case, politics should indeed be set aside — American domestic politics, that is.

Mr. Bush, do the right thing. Don’t attend.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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