Fans searching for Beijing in 2016 Worldcon bid information are now likely to come across http://beijing2016.org/. This is the first example I’ve ever seen of a webpage dedicated to slamming a particular Worldcon bid.
Beijing2016’s header art features a smog-shrouded photo of the Forbidden City. Its lead article is an extract about the lack of internet freedom in China from the U.S. Department of State “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013.”
Search engines are led to it by a notice in the lower right corner:
Beijing 2016 Worldcon Bid
Beijing will bid to host the 2016 Worldcon to be a vote in London this year. A Worldcon is a convention of the World Science Fiction Society.
The domain was created in February. A Whois search shows the domain registrant is an anonymizing service with an Australian post office box in Nobby Beach in Queensland.
I wondered if the use of a U.S. government report rather than Australian source material might be a clue to the site’s creator, though perhaps not. No one interested in criticizing China would start with Australia’s official brief on China, a highly conciliatory document.
I also wondered if this site’s reference to the Worldcon bid was a coincidence – whether there might be a string of Beijing-fill-in-the-year domains discouraging China’s convention business. I found other such domains, though not being used for that purpose. The others I researched are little-used and registered by different owners (not anonymizing services, so far as I could tell). It looks like Beijing2016 was specifically tailored to influence the Worldcon race.