TIME Person of the Year? Nope, Not the Hong Kong Protesters.

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Posted: Dec 11, 2019 10:15 AM
TIME Person of the Year? Nope, Not the Hong Kong Protesters.

Source: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

There may have been plenty of snubs at the Golden Globes nomination ceremony this week, but the slights that occurred at TIME magazine may be even more egregious.

Protesters in Hong Kong have endured persecution for pushing back against a bill that would have forced criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, where they more likely than not would have been subjected to unfair trials. The bill was scrapped in October, but the initial protests have developed into a wider pro-democracy movement. Some demonstrators have been subject to police brutality. But they remain brave and hopeful, and it's been a powerful sight to see them waving American flags in their quest for liberty. 

Those freedom fighters were finalists in TIME's Person of the Year contest. But they were narrowly defeated by someone else. You may recognize her.

In TIME's own words, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg began her climate campaign "by skipping school." Instead of attending classes, she protested in front of the Swedish Parliament to try and spur a climate change strike. Her effort gained momentum, and she was quickly invited to speak at forums across the globe to glare at and lecture leaders she claims aren't doing enough to address the current "crisis."

At some appearances, including those at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the United Nations General Assembly, many would agree she did more yelling than problem solving. "How dare you!" she told her UN audience. She also glared at President Trump from afar, which is apparently another reason TIME gave her the honor.

"In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history," TIME writes.

The editors also note that Thunberg's words have resulted in new laws intended to protect the environment, such as a new UK law that demands the country "eliminate its carbon footprint."

But critics have noted a few issues with her climate campaign. While it's true she decided to take a "zero-emissions sailboat" to this year's climate conference at the United Nations, it wasn't quite as climate-friendly as you'd think. Two crew members had to fly to New York to bring the boat back, and two of the crew members that made the original voyage had to fly back across the Atlantic to return home.

"But is has been revealed that two crew will fly to New York to bring the boat back, and it is also expected that skipper Boris Herrmann and Team Malizia founder Pierre Casiraghi will fly back to Europe," the Daily Mail explained.

I wasn't the only one who wishes TIME would have rethought their decision.

By the way, here's an honorable mention for bad TIME decisions.