Over the past year, Hong Kong has seen a surge in pro-democracy activism in response to China’s creeping influence over the semi-autonomous territory.
Scores of Hong Kongers have taken to the street in protest of Chinese encroachment, most recently in demonstrations against the sweeping new national security law, which bans all forms of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign power, and threatens a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Suffice to say the city has seen an uptick in political activity as of late, so it’s fitting that Vogue Hong Kong chose to label their August edition as “The Action Issue.”
But the magazine’s decision to feature Kylie Jenner as the face of the issue has left many on social media scratching their heads.
In an Instagram post, Vogue Hong Kong lauded Jenner’s entrepreneurial successes and large Instagram following, saying that she embodies the “strength and perseverance of a young woman.”
And in its feature, Vogue Hong Kong praised the 22-year-old’s beauty brand, Kylie Cosmetics, and said that the youngest Jenner was “active in charitable causes including funding surgeries for children with cleft lips and palates through Smile Train.”
But some Twitter users did not share the same enthusiasm for Jenner’s prominent feature in the Hong Kong outlet, considering the many young faces of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
Amnesty International researcher Sophie Mak voiced her frustrations on Twitter, saying that Jenner had “done nothing for Hong Kong’s fight for democracy.”
“Vogue‘s attempt to profit off the goodness of our movement (without actually supporting it) is insulting,” Mak tweeted.
Another Twitter user called Jenner’s cover “troubling” and said that Vogue Hong Kong could have better used its platform to call attention to Hong Kong’s current political turmoil.
“This is not a time to glamorize activism,” the user wrote.
Others pointed out more broadly that Jenner has not used her social media platforms to raise awareness of other recent hot-button issues, including the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter protests across the US.
Meanwhile, the September “Activism Now” issue of British Vogue will include a special fold-out cover featuring several activists—including Lady Phyll, co-founder of UK Black Pride, and Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Notably, the Vogue Hong Kong issue includes stories on several prominent female Hong Kong activists, including Gigi Ghao, the founder of a charity that supports marriage rights and Florence Chann, the diversity and inclusiveness leader for Ernst and Young.
In its spread, Vogue Hong Kong called these women “modern-day changemakers.”
Jenner has not publicly addressed the backlash and thanked Vogue Hong Kong for her feature.
Vogue Hong Kong did not immediately respond to VICE News’s requests for comment.
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/AFP