Sean Silbert and Julie Makinen, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
BEIJING (The L.A. Times)—Hong Kong’s democracy protesters are fighting off their chief executive, who is dressed as a wolf, with nothing but umbrellas, incense sticks and durian fruit.
At least that’s how the conflict takes place in “Yellow Umbrella,” a free game for Android cellphones that’s become an overnight hit among demonstrators. Since the app was released on Oct. 20, it has been downloaded more than 60,000 times, according to Hong Kong-based developer Awesapp. (A version for iPhone and iPad is under review by Apple.)
The app puts players atop one of the blockades that have become a flashpoint in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s conflict over rules for elections in 2017. Characters must defend against tear-gas wielding police, thuggish Triad gangsters and the city’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, wearing wolf clothing (Leung is a near-homophone for the Cantonese word for “wolf,” which has unflattering connotations). And in keeping with the nonviolent principles espoused by protest leaders, players cannot attack their assailants but must peacefully defend using umbrellas.