Keanu, Greta no match for Hong Kong protesters in Time ‘Person of the Year’ poll

Hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets in Hong Kong on Dec. 8, 2019. Photo by Tomas Wiik.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets in Hong Kong on Dec. 8, 2019. Photo by Tomas Wiik.

Hong Kong’s hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have beaten out Greta Thunberg, BTS, and even Neo himself to win Time magazine’s Person of the Year reader poll.

More than 30 percent of the 27 million votes cast in the poll were for Hong Kong’s protesters, who have been taking to the streets in record numbers since June, initially to voice their opposition to a widely loathed bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

Though the bill was belatedly withdrawn, by that point the protests, which are still ongoing, had already transformed into broader movement calling for police accountability and universal suffrage in choosing the city’s leaders. So far, the government has refused to budge on those demands.

While Hong Kong’s protesters won this year’s Time readers poll, they were not the magazine’s official pick for Person of the Year, a distinction that’s bestowed by the publication’s editors on the person or group “who, for better or worse, had the most influence on the world” in a given year.

This year’s editors’ pick was the Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has reinvigorated the discussion surrounding climate change with her strident accusations of complacency on the part of older generations and the student climate strikes she has inspired around the world (including here).

Those climate strikers clocked in at No. 2 on Time’s reader poll, while Thunberg herself came in at No. 5.

Rounding out the reader poll’s top five were Keanu Reeves, the beloved actor and living meme, in third, and BTS, the K-pop boy band with a rabid worldwide fanbase (and winners of last year’s reader poll), in fourth.

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