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Edward Leung

Few have seen Edward Leung since he was jailed last year for his involvement in a 2016 riot. But to the thousands of protesters on the streets chanting, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” a clarion call Leung himself coined, the 28-year-old is a spiritual leader of the city’s months-long unrest. The activist is credited for bringing “localism,” a movement that advocates for greater autonomy from mainland China, into the mainstream. His early days as an advocate for independence are seen in the award-winning documentary Lost in the Fumes—which, naturally, has become essential viewing for the city’s protesters, who in October gathered in the hundreds outside a court building as he appealed his sentence. Although Leung is unable to join the mass protests from prison, he has offered his support. Back in July, he wrote a poignant open letter to the protesters encouraging them to fight on. Nora Lam, who directed the documentary, says, “He has a way of sounding like he always has something new, something provocative and interesting to say.” —Hillary Leung

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