The Hollywood actor called for a "declaration of truth" about the country's oppression of the Tibetan people and followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
Richard is a long-standing supporter of exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama.
Speaking at the Venice Film Festival, he said of the Beijing Games: "I'm not really calling for a boycott - what I do call for is a declaration of the truth.
"If China wants to be a host of the Olympics they also have to be open enough to discuss what's going on there - the destruction of Tibetan culture, abuse of minorities including the Tibetans and Falun Gong. China has a horrendous human rights situation and it has to be talked about.
"I don't believe in isolating everyone, that's counter-productive and foolish. The fact that the media and the international community is coming to Beijing is important for the evolution of China.
"But you can't participate in the Olympics and not talk about what's going on negatively in China."
The Pretty Woman and American Gigolo star is in Venice to promote new film The Hunting Party.
He plays a TV news reporter who sets out to track down Bosnia's most wanted war criminal.
Yahoo News: Richard Gere has called for China to address its human rights record ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.