The International Campaign for Tibet believes the ongoing peaceful citizens’ movement in Hong Kong, led primarily by students, is a result of the Chinese authorities reneging on their commitment to the people of Hong Kong under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement, which promised them democratic universal suffrage for the selection of the Chief Executive in 2017.

Whether in Tibet or Hong Kong, Chinese authorities are making bad and dangerous policy decisions by clamping down on peaceful protests or by blaming foreign elements for ‘instigating’ unrest.

Chinese Communist Party statements have been increasingly centered on the need for rule of law in China, but it has not shown to its citizens and to the international community that it is serious in its implementation.

What is needed is for Beijing to address the underlying causes that have led the Hong Kong people to launch such a movement in the first place, by granting them the free exercise of democratic rights. The solution to this crisis must be political, and must not include the use of force.

The ongoing events represent an important test for the direction that will be taken by China, and the alternative in front of the Chinese Communist Party is clear: either China implements much needed political reforms in Hong Kong and in the mainland, or it strengthens its authoritarian grip. This would fuel aggressive nationalism, leading China along the wrong path in the future while sending a bleak message to the international community.