Chengdu WorldCon

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The 81st Worldcon, Chengdu WorldCon[1] will be held August 16–20, 2023, at Chengdu Century City New International Convention & Exhibition Center in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. It will be the first Worldcon in China or outside the "first world" at all, and the second Worldcon in Asia, after Nippon 2007.

The GoHs are writers Liu Cixin, Robert J. Sawyer and Sergey Lukianenko (also spelled Lukyanenko).

Controversy[edit]

The 2023 Site Selection (which see) at Discon III in Washington, DC, in December 2021, was fraught. Controversy raged over China’s human rights record, particularly persecution of the Uyghur minority, as well as disputes over balloting and irregularities in Discon’s site selection administration. Ultimately, the Chengdu 2023 Worldcon bid won over Winnipeg in '23 in a landslide victory of 2,006 votes to 807 (of which pre-con mail-in ballots, mostly from China, ran 1,950 to 332). The Chengdu bidcom had done extensive get-out-the-vote campaigning at home, while Winnipeg’s efforts were lackluster.

Vice Chair Chen Shi told the Discon business meeting:

It’s been four years since Chengdu started and this has given hope to countless Chinese fans. For Chengdu fans, this is a once in a decade opportunity. This is a special moment for us all. It is a new adventure for all of us. It will be a different kind of Worldcon, but it will still be a Worldcon. That you will still recognize as part of these traditions that started in 1939, when the world was a very different place. I want to thank the efforts of the team in Winnipeg. It has been a long journey, and you gave some good competition, and I will say that we have learned some things from you as well! Such as how to run a good fan table, how to run a good community, give a good presentation, and so on. I hope that many of you will be ready and willing to join our teams. I hope that we can welcome all of you to Chengdu. In fact, we welcome everyone here to Chengdu. We prefer it if you come in person, but for those who can’t, a stream of virtual programming will be part of the accommodation.

Continuing Controversy[edit]

Numerous fans have called for boycotting the convention, not only because of the Uyghurs issue, but also due to other draconian Chinese government policies, including its Covid-19 rules.

Chengdu’s goh choices have stirred anger, as well: Liu has explicitly endorsed China’s internment of the Uyghurs, and Lukianenko caused even more controversy because of his long-term anti-Ukraine sentiments, which turned into enthusiastic support of the Russian military invasion of that country in February 2022. At Chicon 8, the WSFS Business Meeting adopted a continuing resolution condemning the choice of Lukianenko as a guest of honor, saying that he "should neither be platformed nor celebrated," and further said that "it is shameful that he is honored by Worldcon." However, when asked if Chengdu would keep Lukianenko as goh, co-chair Ben Yalow replied tersely, “Yes.” (So far, Sawyer has been uncontentious.)

Another BM proposal would have censored Chengdu for tardiness in processing memberships, but was not considered.

Committee[edit]

Con committee, as announced in an April 2022 image tweet:[2]

Chengdu will host the 2025 Worldcon Site Selection and the 2023 Hugo Awards. By late August 2022 they have not announced whether they will exercise their option to administer the 1948 Retro Hugos.

____

  1. It seems to prefer CamelCasing.
  2. Report in File 770.
  3. Note that the tweet inverted all names into the Western order "first-name family-name" while earlier publicity and other sources use the Chinese surname-first standard. For more of the different composition as claimed in Dec '21, see photo of flyer although Tammy Coxen went on to say "my inclusion on that list was an error"; for example Xia and Pablo Vazquez were listed as Diversity managers, which function is absent from the newer structure.

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