Nice to hear that the United States is urging China to release eight U.S. citizens arrested for protesting during the Beijing Olympics, but shouldn't these 'minor' details have been worked out before the games were even awarded to China? Why Western nations continue tolerate China's repressive ways is hard to figure out. Does anyone really think China will pull back from its policy of engagement -- which has enabled Beijing to join the world economy and become a major economic player -- if the West insists it respect basic human rights? No, it's too late for that. China is too engaged with the rest of the world and won't withdraw, not after tasting the fruits of cooperation. Yet the West has tolerated China's crackdown on pro-Tibet demonstrators in China and has allowed Beijing to censor the Internet. And that's only what has happened publicly. Who knows what kind of pressure has been leveled on residents behind the scenes. The eight Americans, who belong to the group Free Tibet Reporters, will be released by Aug. 30, Chinese authorities said, according to the Reuters international news service. Two of the Americans were detained after hanging a Free Tibet banner near an Olympic venue and six members were detained on Aug. 20.
"We are disappointed that China has not used the occasion of the Olympics to demonstrate greater tolerance and openness," the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in a written statement, according to Reuters. "We encourage the government of China to demonstrate respect for human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of religion, of all people during the Olympic Games and beyond." Demonstrations favoring an independent Tibet took place around the world during the torch relay prior to the start of the Beijing Olympics, apparently triggered by China's crackdown on Lhasa, Tibet's capital, earlier this year.