e state government to help the economy is to provide tax relief, and an end to pyramiding would be particularly welcome for business. Cayetano now seems willing to abandon the most important tax relief measure in the Legislature.

However, the governor is determined to fund the public employee pay increases his administration approved, even proposing to dip into the state employees' retirement system funds to finance them.

This controversial -- some might say desperate -- idea would enable him to fulfill a pledge he made to government workers during last year's election campaign. But it has nothing to do with helping the economy. Reduction of pyramiding has a lot to do with the economy.


China’s abuses

Bullet The issue: China has continued to repress dissidents despite signing human rights treaties.
Bullet Our view: The United States' attempt to get the U.N. Human Rights Commission to censure China was important even though it failed.

AFTER China announced it would sign major human rights treaties, the United States last year dropped its annual campaign to get the U.N. Human Rights Commission to criticize the Communist regime. But Beijing's crackdown on dissidents following the signings showed that the commitments were not to be taken seriously.

Earlier this year both houses of Congress approved without a single dissenting vote resolutions urging the Clinton administration to criticize China's practices at the U.N. commission's annual meeting.

At the meeting this week in Geneva, the United States introduced a motion expressing concern over "continuing reports of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in China" and "increased restrictions on the exercise of cultural, religious and other freedoms of Tibetans."

China responded with a motion to take no action on the U.S. proposal and head off criticism. It was approved, 22-17, with 14 countries abstaining. European countries opposed the Chinese motion, but Russia and many developing nations supported it.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission continues to turn a blind eye to China's abuses, which is no surprise. Most of the countries represented on the commission have scant respect for human rights themselves.

However, the Clinton administration has been forced to abandon its attempts to gloss over Beijing's repression. It was important to make this protest as a way of saying that Beijing's signing of human rights treaties didn't fool anybody.


Police failure

Bullet The issue: The Police Department failed to follow through on a report of a sexual assault made seven years ago.
Bullet Our view: The public should be informed of the results of the investigation and assured that the problem has been corrected.

THE Honolulu Police Department dropped the ball on a complaint of sexual assault and Chief Lee Donohue wants to know why. The case, which goes back seven years, involved a 13-year-old boy's report of an assault by Gilbert Martines. Martines, now 51, was indicted this week by an Oahu grand jury in another sexual assault case.

Trevor Bombard reported in 1992 that he had been assaulted by Martines in 1989. But police didn't pursue it.

Donohue, who just learned about the 1992 report, said the department didn't complete the process of filing the complaint and did not confer with the prosecutor's office.

"We feel for the victim and his family," Donohue said, adding that he had launched an investigation to determine what happened.

No system is foolproof, but when the system involves criminal justice, there can be little tolerance for error. Donohue's candor in admitting the department's error is laudable. The public should be informed of the results of the investigation and assured that the problem has been corrected.

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