Climate change star shines brightest

Top News | Charlotte Luo 12 Dec 2019

Charlotte Luo

Hong Kong protesters lost to Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who became a global voice for climate change and environmental activism, for Time magazine's "Person of the Year."

Thunberg, 16, "has succeeded in turning vague anxieties about the planet into a worldwide movement calling for global change," the magazine said yesterday.

"She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement," editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said.

Thunberg is the magazine's youngest ever choice for Person of the Year, he said.

Hong Kong protesters were among the top five candidates for the honor, along with US President Donald Trump.

Also on the final list was US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a senior female politician and a key figure in the Trump impeachment proceedings.

Another finalist was "The Whistleblower," the anonymous CIA whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry after complaining about Trump's dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

On Tuesday, the magazine narrowed its shortlist of 10 people to five, with editors deciding the person or people who most influenced the world in the past year.

Readers, including many Hongkongers, cast their votes from last month.

The demonstrations in Hong Kong began as an anti-fugitive bill protest on June 9 and is entering its seventh month.

In 2011, "The Protester" was named Person of the Year to represent movements such as the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement, in addition to protests in Greece, Russia and other places.

Trump was Person of the Year in 2016.

Meanwhile, former speaker of the British House of Commons John Bercow wrote in News Statesman America that if the Hong Kong government continues to ignore the will of the people, the city "as we know it, is dead."

He said the pro-Beijing camp was routed after the district council elections on November 24 and that "to ignore such an overwhelming expression of public opinion would destroy whatever fragments may be left of the one country, two systems principle. That means immediately embarking on a widespread process of dialogue and reform leading to universal suffrage at all levels of government," Bercow said.

He believed the newly elected district councillors could be among the government's first interlocutors for dialogue.

"If Hong Kong is to pull back from the brink, it must set out a timetable for democratic reform. To restore trust in government, people must have a stake in government," Bercow said.

"That means one person, one vote, every few years, at every level of government."

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