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Dharamshala received a visit from Mr Wilson Lee, Program Officer of South-Asian Desk for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an US based organization that supports democracy efforts around the world. NED has supported the Tibetan movement since 1989. Mr Lee is paying a visit to India every year to visit their Tibetan friends and partners.

Why do you find it important to support Tibetan organizations, especially NGO-s?

Our organization supports people who believe in values of democracy and human rights and the Tibetan movement is in a way a special example of that. The reason for this is first of all that His Holiness Dalai Lama (HHDL) is a very forward thinking and compassionate person and he is putting forward the principles of non-violence which is very critical for democratic struggles around the world.

The other thing is that the Tibetan movement has a great deal of unity internally. We have especially seen this since 2008 protest when we saw different NGO-s as well as the global Tibet movement working together and we do not see that in other places.

Another unique aspect of the Tibetan movement is that you have a Tibetan government in exile which is a functioning government whit institutions working in a democratic manner. People are involved and aware of their democratic rights. I think that is very special.

Because the Chinese government has a lot of influence in the world, there are very few organizations that can and are willing to support the Tibetan political movements. We are proud to be one of the organizations who do that. The Tibetans are an important symbol for democracy and non-violent democratic struggle in the world and to support people who struggle for those values is what our organization exists for.

The Chinese government is claiming that the US government is working and fulfilling its policies through NED. What is your comment on that?

NED does receive funds from the US congress but we are not part of the US government and our decisions are made independently. We do not follow US policy per se. For example as Obama is not going to meet with HHDL and US policy is very cautious towards China, NED is not. The Chinese government is very worried about NED as they study "colored revolutions" in Georgia and Ukraine and saw that NED was funding many of these "peoples uprisings". NED has been funding these organizations involved in people's uprisings for years and we did not have anything to do with these uprisings. It is the people themselves who do this spontaneously. In the case of the tibetan protests in 2008, NED and its partners were not involved and were even surprised by these developments.

Intervied by YC. Dhardhowa, editor for The Tibet Post International

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com