Time named Greta Thunberg as “Person of the Year,” but others believe the recognition should have been given to the Hong Kong protesters.
Shortly after the magazine unveiled the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist on the cover of the special annual issue, many responded in favor of the protesters, who made it to the shortlist alongside President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and The Whistleblower.
— TIME (@TIME) December 11, 2019
“[It] should have been the Hong Kong protesters,” one declared on Twitter.
Another congratulated Thunberg, but hoped “everyone can care about what happened in Hong Kong.”
Should have been the Hong Kong Protestors.
— Karen (@Karen6598) December 11, 2019
Thunberg first became known for her activism in August 2018, when she skipped school days and spent time outside the Swedish Parliament calling for stronger action on global warming.
In December of the same year, she addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland, sparking weekly student strikes across schools on the planet.
By July 2019, the 16-year-old ignited a global movement, with millions of students participating in coordinated protests in multiple cities for the same cause.
She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which was ultimately awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.
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The #climateweek continues! The preliminary numbers say 170’000 people – mostly school children – are striking today in New Zealand!! That is 3,5% of the entire NZ population…THIS is Wellington! Please share all the pictures you see as the strikes move west over Asia to Africa and Europe!! Happy striking!! #climatestrike #fridaysforfuture
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The Hong Kong protests, on the other hand, kicked off in June after the introduction of an extradition bill that allows for the transfer of fugitives in the city to mainland China, Macau and Taiwan.
The bill raised concerns that it can be used to subject both Hong Kong residents and visitors to the legal system of communist Beijing, which would undermine the city’s powers as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) and potentially infringe on civil liberties.
Like Thunberg, the protesters were also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, this time by a Norwegian politician for risking “their lives and security every day to stand up for freedom of speech and basic democracy.”
Time editors select the “Person of the Year,” whom they define as “an individual or group who, for better or worse, had the most influence on the world.”
The Hong Kong protesters took first place in the magazine’s reader poll, gaining over 30% — or more than eight million — of the total 27 million votes.
That being said, it comes as no surprise that people have taken to Twitter to criticize the decision:
Last I checked, the HK protestors were winning the @TIME person of the year vote by a pretty wide margin. Unfortunate to see that @TIME doesn’t have the guts to stand up to China. #notmypersonoftheyear
— Mark LaRocca (@larocca_markk) December 11, 2019
Greta Thunberg is TIME magazine’s 2019 person of the year.
Scott Presler has cleaned up over 100,000 TONS of trash from the inner cities this year making an actual difference.
Greta is a brat with no experience being used to fear-monger & push an agenda. Solid choice!
— Educating Liberals (@Education4Libs) December 12, 2019
She basically does nothing except for her exaggerated emotion towards climate change & she offers no practical solutions for the governments on how to save the Earth. Why is she the person of the year? pic.twitter.com/CBIxCiMHwm
— Bruce Wayne (@BruceWayne852) December 11, 2019
I fixed it again (in english) pic.twitter.com/97xb3KtzdR
— // (@usuarioesenha) December 11, 2019
I’m a man. I wake up at 4am, my hands bloody from work by 5am, I like my steak with steak, I drink whiskey, my big old truck barely holds my big old balls, I got more guns than fangers and DID GRETA THUNBERG JUST WIN PERSON OF THE YEAR OH MY GOD R U SERIOUS WHAT THE FUCK U GUYS N
— McKeever (@JohnnyMcKeever) December 11, 2019
Some congratulated Thunberg while reminding others of Hong Kong’s struggle:
Greta is great! Congratulations!
But world please don’t forget how Hong Kong Protestors (even kids) have risked their lives n ready to sacrifice for #HumanRights n resisting #Chinazi
Actions speak louder than words! pic.twitter.com/fkMcrPkjXA
— Hana Tse (@TseHana) December 11, 2019
Congratulations! The power of #youth is UNLIMITED! Let’s work together for a better world
— @Dystopia – Fight for #HKautonomy (@Dystopia992) December 11, 2019
Congratulations on achieving such a great accomplishment at such a young age. Global warming (emergency) is a burning issue. Let’s not forget after all we strive for improvement of humanity. The fight for freedom & democracy aligns with the fight for a better world to live in. pic.twitter.com/3npnNGuruf
— Raptor Buzz (@RaptorBuzz) December 11, 2019
Congratulations .@GretaThunberg! This definitely shows us the power of youths who are not afraid to speak up and question about our world. Let’s make the world a better place pic.twitter.com/rm3TKucMo0
— #SOSHK Fight for Hong Kong (@Fight4HongKong) December 11, 2019
Congrats from HKers!
Hope this may help raise awareness for climate issues!
Environment or human rights, both are taken for granted by many & both are important battles for our next generations.
Let’s fight on together, in different ways & different places, for human wellbeing. pic.twitter.com/tGvTW9B70r
— Janet (@JanetTeddy111) December 11, 2019
Still, others simply expressed genuine support for Thunberg:
Because of her impact. She doesn’t have to offer solutions. Any meaningful change on the climate issue can only succeed with people feeling inspired to change, and it needs a figurehead.
You may not personally feel inspired, but millions do.
— MURPH (@murphaloid) December 11, 2019
Congratulations Greta Thunberg for your courageous and important efforts in raising awareness on the perils of climate change.
You endured threats and ridicule from adults like the Climate Denier in Chief, and yet you persisted.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) December 11, 2019
— Johnny Montalbano (@MontalbanoNY) December 11, 2019
— #SHIFT (@TheGentYYC) December 11, 2019
You are an inspiration for millions. This shows us the power of youth who are not afraid to speak up for the right cause. Climate Change is a serious issue, and to deal with it we need more Greta Thunbergs. https://t.co/25EVqJAIzB
— Rohit Pawar (@RRPSpeaks) December 12, 2019
Time will release a double issue for Thunberg on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30.
Feature Images via @gretathunberg (Left), Getty (Right)