Chengdu Wins 2023 Worldcon Site Selection Vote

The 81st Worldcon will be held in Chengdu, China from August 23-29, 2023. The convention’s guests of honor will be Sergey Lukianenko, the author of the Night Watch series, Robert Sawyer author of Hominids, and Liu Cixin, the author of The Three-Body Problem.

(The spelling of Lukianenko here follows the usage of the author’s official site, although the Wikipedia spells it with a “y”.)

Site selection administrator Tim Szczesuil reported the following vote totals to the DisCon III business meeting this morning:

FIRST BALLOTPRE-CONWEDNESDAYTHURSDAYFRIDAYTOTAL
Chengdu in 20231950719302006
Winnipeg in ‘2333297197181807
Memphis in 2023 (withdrawn)21317
Write-ins837218
Total with preference22921082262142838
Needed to win    1420
No preference6024975
Total valid votes23521102302232915
Invalid ballots20057

He also reported that a further 917 tokens were sold for which no matching ballots were received.

Yesterday’s controversial but non-binding resolution about the application of the WSFS Constitution’s site selection rules did not lead to the exclusion of large numbers of votes. Szczesuil reports that included in the Pre-Con total are 1,591 ballots from China missing a street address, but otherwise valid. These ballots consisted of 1,586 for Chengdu and 5 with no preference. Had the lack of a street address caused these ballots to be shifted to “No preference,” Winnipeg would have won.

After the results were announced, Chengdu’s representative Chen Shi addressed the business meeting and shared information about their guests, dates, and other plans.

“After these days of hard work, I’m happy to give you this speech here. 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.”

Their membership rates currently are Attending $100, and Virtual $80. He said, “We know that the virtual convention has expanded our ideas of what the Worldcon can be and has given us a great chance to build a global community of science fiction fans.”

A photo of the flyer distributed at the business meeting (courtesy of Chris Barkley) shows the staff that Chengdu already has in place, and the positions they are looking to fill. Chen Shi invited people to apply.

CHICON 8 REPORT. Once the Site Selection portion of the meeting was finished, Chicon 8’s chair Helen Montgomery provided an update about next year’s Worldcon in Chicago, then took questions. She said, “We will definitely have a virtual component. We don’t entirely know what it’s going to look like.”

Montgomery was asked, “I’ve heard rumors that George RR Martin will not be welcomed on program. Is that true?” Her answer was not yes or no. She said, “At this time, we have not picked anyone to be on program. Program applications and surveys have not gone out. It is the answer to the question. We have not picked anybody to be on program. And as far as — I don’t even know if Mr. Martin has filled in an applicant form. So I can’t actually answer that. Our goal for program, though, is to — and this has always been one of our goals — is we want to make sure that folks who have been historically marginalized have a voice in our convention. But that is not at the expense of other people who have been active in this fandom for a long time. So we’re looking to find a balance. But, you know , if folks are interested in being on program, fill out the program form. That’s the first thing that we can tell you to do. — that’s the best thing that we can tell you to do. From then, we have a vetting process and the whole nine yards.”

Room reservations for Chicon 8 will open early in 2022. Montgomery encouraged folks who need ADA rooms to e-mail access@chicon.org and get on the list as soon as possible. ADA rooms will open mid-January. Reservations for everybody else will open in mid-February.

80 thoughts on “Chengdu Wins 2023 Worldcon Site Selection Vote

  1. “missing a street address, but otherwise valid.”
    If they’re otherwise valid, then the voters were members of Discon, and Discon should have their address, yes?

  2. Will there be government representatives who watch the virtual programming streams to pull the plug if they want to censor something?

  3. If they’re otherwise valid, then the voters were members of Discon, and Discon should have their address, yes?

    I’ve also been wondering why all the information gathered when someone joins the current Worldcon and pays the dues isn’t sufficient identification when the same member votes in site selection.

  4. rcade: I thought about that, too, however, looking at the rules they set a more demanding standard for the requirements of site selection voters than they do for people who want to buy a current-worldcon membership. DisCon III could take the payment with whatever identifying information suited them. It may have been just an email. A person’s status as a DisCon III member would not mean they had provided the info needed to have their site selection vote count towards a preference.

  5. @Mike Glyer: The constitution says: “Site-selection ballots shall include name, signature, address, and membership-number spaces to be filled in by the voter.”

    This doesn’t say all have to be filled in, only that the voter is the one to fill them in; it’s horribly worded if it’s trying to say they MUST be filled in. Ambiguous. Heck, there was a de facto practice in a special case of (ETA: someone other than the voter) filling in the membership number, which was enshrined in the constitution Saturday. Was that illegal before? We can’t have it both ways.

    The “Tallying” section of the constitution (the logical section for what happens if something’s “missing”) doesn’t say there’s anything wrong with missing information. It covers how to handle other voting anomalies, but says nothing about this, which to me implies a missing or weird or bogus address (ETA: or other information!) shouldn’t affect vote handling.

    Heck, it doesn’t even say why the address is there (the ballot says, but you could make a ballot that said something different). It just says the bid committees may record them.

    Heck, the Hugo section has similar language, but I’ve never put in my address or membership number in the electronic ballot! (ETA: Granted, this may be implied by filling out a form while logged in. Are Hugo ballots really rejected if they’re missing addresses, though?!)

    IMHO, it’s clear the Site Selection part of the constitution (and the Hugo section) needs improving. Ambiguity, different expectations despite parallel wording in the two sections, etc. Just my two cents based on reading these sections,

  6. Sorry, I’ve edited in a few places to clarify a couple of things I’m trying to say, etc.

    (ETA: And my reading of the words may be quite confused, but I still feel it should be improved.)

  7. Kendall: I’m not sure you’re tracking with me. There is a section on membership. And there is another section on site selection. The current year Worldcon sells memberships under the rules of the membership section, which does has a lot to say about what level the payment must be, but no requirements as there are for the site selection ballot form.

  8. @Mike Glyer: Sorry, I may be confused. You wrote “they set a more demanding standard for the requirements of site selection voters” but it seems to be a more demanding standard for the form . . . but again: ambiguous wording, IMHO.

    I may be totally over-interpreting what you’re saying, though (or just inappropriately tangenting). Sorry about that, if so! I admit my tracking after a long day may be even worse than usual. (insert blush emoji here) (I’m too lazy to go get the emoji to copy/paste; no need for anyone to supply it)

  9. I do not believe any significant cultural event that could create favorable or unfavorable public opinion for the ruling party would be entirely overlooked by Chairman Xi’s loyal apparatchiks, not even in a country where a 10,000 member convention could easily be dwarfed by the number of employees attending a major factory meeting. So a question on my mind is: Did Chinese s-f fans vote to get a Worldcon, or did the PRC buy a Worldcon? It will be interesting to see what unfolds.

  10. bill:

    “Will there be government representatives who watch the virtual programming streams to pull the plug if they want to censor something?”

    Wouldn’t surprise me if they are streamed with delays.

    I do think the solution here is to create a “Chengdu Fringe” virtual convention. To make sure that diverse and oppositional voices are heard and get coverage in the fan community. This time there’s a good reason for such a con to exist and it will be interesting to see them find a balance between celebrating chinese authors, artists and fandom, while remaining critical to the regime.

    While I’m thinking of visiting Chengdu for this, I don’t think I’d do it without giving some kind of monetary support for such an initiative at the same time (as long as it won’t be based on any kind of Yellow Peril narrative that ignores US/UK Human Rights abuses).

  11. It is almost a given that Liu Cixin would be a Guest of Honor, given his record of being a reliable apparatchik, including explicitly supporting the Xinjhiang “re-education” camps, but I hope and trust that Robert J. Sawyer will see fit to do the decent thing and decline the “honor”.

  12. @Hampus Eckerman: of course they will.

    Chinese fans in the US (and presumably elsewhere) are “minded”, know they are being watched and constantly monitored and therefore do not freely speak their minds, a fact acknowledged to me by several different Chinese – national – fans.

    The cultural representative of the province had at least three watchers/bodyguards when I met him in San Jose, as did the editor of SF World magazine.

    I believe it is referred to as a “totalitarian regime”, and those kinds of “minding” of their citizens is one reason.

    Corporations with large overseas presences caution against visiting there as does the US State department. As we’re learning now, visas may be unobtainable (which, big surprise, would mean that only those approved by the Chinese government would be able to attend, and vote on anything Worldcon related.

    Not to mention the genocide they keep on trying to sweep under the rug.

    Cassandras?

    Wasn’t she the one who warned the Trojans about that wooden horse thing?

  13. @ Karl-Johan Norén said:

    The counterexample of Weisskopf is perfectly valid. Weisskopf’s politics were well known already in 2019, or even 2009.

    I admit my ignorance but from what I’ve read here and elsewhere (but I’ve never been in Baen forums), Weisskopf was accused not in stating something abusive, as Lukianenko did multiple times, but in not having an adequate moderating of their forums. It is like a murderer and an accomplice to murder – quite different

  14. Hampus Eckerman on December 18, 2021 at 4:52 pm said:

    Also, street signs aren’t as much problem as they used to be. You can use google translate and scan signs directly.

    Does it work ok behind the Great Chinese Firewall? Remember that quite a few sites are blocked in China, unlike S.Korea

  15. Steve Davidson:

    “Not to mention the genocide they keep on trying to sweep under the rug.”

    I see you are disappointed and angry that US got to to have Worldcons during the Vietnam War, the bombings of Laos and Cambodia, during the sanctions against Iraq that killed half a million children below five and during the Iraq War.

    And take your racist-as-fuck talk about Trojan horse’s somewhere else. Because now you are entering into put-the-asians-in-concentration-camps territory. That has already been done.

  16. Kendall writes

    Heck, it doesn’t even say why the address is there

    The whole site selection process seems to be a throwback twenty years. The address is of course needed because how else will the winning con, of which you are now a supporting member, mail out progress reports?
    A least online payments have been normalised. It’s not that long since there was an expectation of a cheque drawn on an American bank.

  17. @Hampus Don’t worry about the US starting another war; we’re pretty tired of wars at the moment–on both sides of the political divide. Otherwise we wouldn’t have walked away from Afghanistan.

    And I’m definitely sure we won’t go to war over WorldCon. 🙂

  18. @NickPheas: Yes, and physical mailing being optional (usually no longer even the default, methinks?) supports your “throwback” comment.

    @Greg Hullender: Hi, long time no read. 🙂

  19. Oleksandr:

    “Does it work ok behind the Great Chinese Firewall? Remember that quite a few sites are blocked in China, unlike S.Korea.”

    AFAIK, Google Translate has worked in China since 2017.

  20. @Oleksandr:

    I admit my ignorance but from what I’ve read here and elsewhere (but I’ve never been in Baen forums), Weisskopf was accused not in stating something abusive, as Lukianenko did multiple times, but in not having an adequate moderating of their forums. It is like a murderer and an accomplice to murder – quite different

    I think my first statement got a bit misunderstood. It’s not so much that Weisskopf was an obviously bad choice for a GoH back in 2019, but that she publically held political opinions that a lot of people found distasteful back then (and I was one of those people). This is largely similar to how I view Lukianenko—he is clearly qualified to be a Worldcon GoH given his stature in the field, but also someone where I find some of his personal or political opinions distasteful.

    I wouldn’t invite him as a GoH for a con I was running, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to say that someone else inviting him did a poor choice for the con, because much more goes into such a decision than one’s own personal opinions.

  21. @Hampus

    now you are entering into put-the-asians-in-concentration-camps territory. That has already been done.

    It is being done, by China, with Uighurs, right now.

    @Karl-Johan Norén
    If you know of something Toni Weisskopf has said about her politics beyond being generally conservative, something that justifies the comments made here about her, please link or quote it.

  22. bill:

    “It is being done, by China, with Uighurs, right now.”

    Not sure what you are arguing here. That this fact makes it more acceptable with racist speech in the US?

  23. You seemed to dislike Steve Davidson’s comment because it was in “put-the-asians-in-concentration-camps territory”. As of the site selection vote, the Chengdu Worldcon is already in “put-the-asians-in-concentration-camps territory”, so criticizing the comment on that basis is too little, too late..

    The comment isn’t racist speech, it’s journalism.

  24. bill:

    Take your racist bullshit somewhere else. Saying that chinese fans organizing an SF-convention is the same as them putting people in concentration camps is just disgusting. Bugger off. Go defend your local fascists or something.

  25. That the successful Chengdu bid is the product solely of Chinese fans organizing an SF-convention, rather than the Chinese government or (more likely) the local Chengdu government or tourist/conventions bureau organizing and/or subsidizing a bloc bid, assumes facts not in evidence.

    But regardless, neither Steve Davidson’s comment nor my follow-up makes the process of putting together an SF convention the same as putting people into concentration camps, as you put it. At most, they say that when a society that is as centrally controlled as China’s does one thing communally, then that action bears the baggage of the other things it does communally. You yourself, in this thread, linked US-hosted Worldcons to the foreign policy of the United States as it existed at the time of those Worldcons, even though the conventions didn’t have the input of the US government in their planning, nor the approval of same while they were going on (Will the Chengdu convention operate so free of oversight?)

  26. Saying that the people organising the Chengdu bid also are organising concentration camps some 2000 km away assumes facts not in evidence. And it’s racist as fuck to say that every chinese person is collectively guilty of every action performed by the Chinese authoritiarian state.

    I have not linked Worldcons placed in US to US foreign policy. In fact, I visited the Worldcon in Kansas City when it was 2000 km away from the US dictatorial puppet regime in Honduras. And I did not blame Worldcon for the the support of that military regime.

    I do blame Discon3 for taking blood money from Raytheon. Just as I will blame CD-WSFC if they let the Hugo Awards be sponsored by the Xinjiang Internment Camps.

  27. @Hampus

    Saying that the people organising the Chengdu bid also are organising concentration camps some 2000 km away assumes facts not in evidence.

    And neither Steve nor I have done that.

  28. Is noting the PRC’s rather lackluster history regarding Human Rights (recognizing that the US and other Western nations also have lackluster histories regarding human rights) really only done for racist reasons?

  29. No. Same as noting US lackluster history regarding Human Rights isn’t done for racist reasons.

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