The National Endowment for Democracy and support for democracy in Hong Kong

In the wake of recent pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, state controlled Chinese news outlets have published erroneous reports that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has played a central role in the protests.

The projects that the Endowment has supported over the years in Hong Kong have focused on encouraging good governance, supporting informed citizen engagement in the political process, and protecting human rights. NED projects for Hong Kong totaled $695,031 in 2013 – brief descriptions of these projects are available on the NED website and include two Hong Kong specific projects and one regional project

Reports that NED Vice President Louisa Greve met with organizers of the Hong Kong protests are inaccurate, and while the National Endowment for Democracy is supportive of the goals of universal suffrage and genuine democracy, no leader of the current protests has sought assistance or counsel from the NED. On April 2, 2014 Ms. Greve moderated a panel hosted by NED featuring prominent democracy advocates Martin Lee and Anson Chan, and the full video of that event is available online. This was one of many appearances and meetings Lee and Chan scheduled during their trip to the U.S. in the spring of 2014 to discuss Hong Kong’s future. While Mr. Lee and Ms. Chan are leading democratic figures in Hong Kong, they are neither leaders nor organizers of the current protests; neither are they grantees of the NED. Lee was honored with NED’s annual Democracy Award in 1997 in recognition of his work to support freedom of the press, full democratic elections, the rule of law, and human rights in Hong Kong.

The Endowment makes more than 1400 annual grants in nearly 90 countries, and NED’s objectives in Hong Kong, as everywhere, have been and continue to be the support of nongovernmental organizations working to strengthen democratic values, processes, and institutions.