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Somehow a New Year's resolution to stop lying does not inspire full confidence. So the Chinese people may have mixed feelings about the promise from their country's official weekly to tell the truth. But they might give some benefit of the doubt to the Peking Review's apology for misinforming them during the Cultural Revolution.

The press farther west has not colla-borated in anything so egregious as that revolution's great leap backward. Still wouldn't it be nice to hear from certain Western publications an occasional modest word like these: ''The tendency to embellish reality, to overstate, or to write without much substantive content has been, may we hope, overcome to a great extent.''

Every step toward protecting human rights needs encouragement, as the US State Department suggests. The question is whether it has to be in the form of military aid.

The administration reportedly sees enough progress in Guatemala to resume selling helicopter parts there soon. It wants to end the ban on arms to Chile, too, though this might be awkward without doing the same for Argentina, which has had conflicts with Chile. Congress, which has tied the strings of military aid to human rights, is on its mettle to ensure its intentions are not violated.

Comic strips tend to be like those old MacArthurian soldiers that never die but just fade away. Garry Trudeau's ''Doonesbury'' is different. Though the most trenchantly topical of strips, it has left the headlines for a 20-month intermission and won eulogies as if gone forever.

The artist wants time to reflect, he says - a revolutionary thought for anyone in today's media. Say, Joanie, is that some kind of commentary on our time, I mean, you know, is he trying to tell us something?

''Annie'' is gone from Broadway after one of its longest runs. But, leapin' lizards, ''Annie II'' is on the way. Does this mean prolonging the Great Depression in the show with another Hooverville number or two? Or dancing along to prosperity for everybody and not just Daddy Warbucks? There should be enough drama for a musical in good times as well as bad, so long as it doesn't get toom escapist.

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