Chengdu Worldcon Website Adds Guest of Honor Data

The new Chengdu Worldcon website launched in early September minus any statement about who their Guests of Honor are, even though their names had been announced immediately after they won the bid.

That omission was remedied very recently with the addition of a Guests of Honor for 2023 Chengdu Worldcon section, screencap shown below. According to the Chinese version of the site, the GoH information was posted on November 29.

49 thoughts on “Chengdu Worldcon Website Adds Guest of Honor Data

  1. Well, that settles the question of whether or not I shell out for a supporting membership this year. (The answer is “not”.) Sorry, but if this convention is “honouring” someone who’s spoken out in favour of unprovoked war and genocide, it can do so without my support.

  2. As expected, Lukianenko is still on the list, in spite of the resolution at Chicon condemning him for supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

    Some people have also complained about Cixin Liu, who has expressed his support for the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghurs. I’d cut him more slack than Lukianenko. As I understand it, he said that only in response to a question. Speaking out against it could cost him his career. I’m inclined to read parts of The Three-Body Problem as a veiled criticism of the Chinese government.

  3. I suspect that Sawyer is bearing witness, and I wish him luck in that regard.

    I’m not second-guessing anyone for the choices they make in this matter.

  4. ONE of these Guest of Honor is NOT like the others…

    As for Robert J. Sawyer, everyone that has been clamoring him to comment, yell about or do something about this crisis should get off their high horse and lay the hell off.

    He is the Chengdu Committee,’s choice as their guest (and well deserved for that matter). It’s NOT an honored guest’s job to be our surrogate, insider activist.

    Chris B.

  5. Nevertheles I will try to become a supporting member, I don’t know if it is possible (no reaction from Chengdu from my requestion until now) but the Hugos are a reason for me to support, even this con.

  6. @Chris I think you are wrong. As the only GoH who can speak his mind unfettered from concern of governmental intervention, he has MORE of a responsibility to speak out. As a high profile member of the community he has MORE of a responsibility to speak out, and, dare I say it, more responsibility to demand change or resign the position.
    There seems to be a fair amount of grumbling from the north side of the border in general agreement that accepting that “honor” was not the best move on his part.
    We all get that WorldCon GoH honors come infrequently, and that it is a big honor, but in this circumstance, there’s more honor to be had in not being seen as supporting a dictatorial, genocidal regime.

  7. I think that if Sawyer stepped down, saying why, he’d be solidly securing his reputation in a way being a Guest of Honor at this can’t.

  8. Sawyer has said publicly that the Chengdu committee was wrong in choosing Lukianenko, but that they’re stuck with him, for reasons.

  9. As for Robert J. Sawyer, everyone that has been clamoring him to comment, yell about or do something about this crisis should get off their high horse and lay the hell off.

    This is a squirrely position to take. Being a Chengdu guest of honor does not make Sawyer immune from criticism. There’s nothing wrong with calling on Sawyer to take action in response for Lukianenko’s call for genocite in Ukraine.

    Especially since being associated with a convention that celebrates Lukianenko is not an honor.

  10. @Steve re: @Chris:
    Chris is one of Mr. Sawyer’s most devoted admirers, so I suspect, he is working hard to find grounds to stand by him, even in a questionable position. And there’s some truth in his position. We’re all up in arms about Chengdu and its failings, but we voted to hold a WorldCon there, so we should at least keep an eye (or a respected author’s eye) on how it goes.

    But even as I say this, I admit, my heart agrees with you. Sometimes “Custom [is] more honored in the breach than the observance.”
    I just hope we get Mr. Sawyer back unharmed. China often disappears people, & they are not happy with us, due to our support of Taiwan.

  11. Possibly, Sawyer is committed to international science fiction and notices that India, China, Brazil, and others (since it is topical, let’s add Uganda – and Nigeria) have been neutral in the Ukraine conflict, many of the world’s fans hold views different than yours, and, what’s more, they do so with overwhelming numbers, and he wouldn’t wish to see the World taken out of Worldcon.

    “The great thing about science fiction is that it transcends national boundaries,” Sawyer said in his acceptance speech.

    “It’s wonderful to be at a conference along with writers from the United States, England, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, New Zealand and Canada. Science fiction really is the literature of planet Earth.”

  12. @Brian Z–I am reminded of my father, who certainly had some racist views, and his reaction to an acquaintance who said that in pre-Civil War years, people had different opinions about slavery, and they had the right to their opinions…

    And my dad just slapped that right down. No, there are not multiple legitimate views on slavery. It’s wrong, deeply immoral, because it treats humans as property, and there is no legitimate defense of it.

    China is committing genocide against the Uigyers, and Russia is trying to commit genocide against the Ukrainians. There is no possible moral framework in which this is defensible.

    And this is not acceptable, even if it creates barriers with people we would rather not have barriers with.

    If you can excuse it, what can’t you excuse?

  13. … what’s more, they do so with overwhelming numbers …

    I wasn’t expecting to see anyone both-sides the invasion of Ukraine in this discussion, but I commend your bold attempt to turn “the lurkers support me in email” to “the lurkers support me in their countries in overwhelming numbers.”

    As we ponder what Sawyer thinks about the invasion, in February he called Volodymyr Zelenskyy Time’s 2022 person of the year, a prediction that just came true.

  14. While I think it would be good if Robert Sawyer or Ben Yalow walked away from the convention, that’s not the best place to focus. The Chinese government is the central problem; a Worldcon in China is a Worldcon under ice-cold chilling effects. The concom is operating under very difficult conditions, and getting rid of Lukianenko may not be an option. I just want to see as much distance as possible put between fandom and what happens in Chengdu in 2023. Doing that is up to each of us in our own way, but feuds with specific fans and pros (aside from outrageous cases like Lukianenko) are best avoided.

  15. Sorry, I have to partially walk back my previous comment. I’ve just looked at Sawyer’s Twitter feed, and he’s been actively pushing the con and Chengdu without a word about Lukianenko or the country’s oppressive government. He shares in the shame.

  16. We’re all up in arms about Chengdu and its failings, but we voted to hold a WorldCon there

    I can see from whence you come, but I am not sure we voted to hold a Worldcon there?

    If (a bit of an ‘if’ here) you define ‘we’ as a member of the Worldcon community – someone who has been to one or more Worldcons – then the 2023 site selection vote was arguably something else. It seemed to be a vote in which several hundred voters had never before been to a Worldcon voted and who got China clearly over the line.

    We desperately need a site selection filter in the WSFS constitution/rules. One solution, as has been previously proposed, is that a hosting nation might need to have more than a minimal score on the Democracy Index and/or Freedom Index. Perhaps a minimum score of 7.5 (purely as a round-ish figure to get the ball rolling) on the former and perhaps 85 on the latter?

    Canada Democracy 8.87; Freedom 98
    China Democracy 2.97; Freedom 9
    Egypt Democracy 3.9; Freedom 18
    Finland Democracy 9.27; Freedom 100
    Ireland Democracy 9.41; Freedom 97
    Israel Democracy 7.28; Freedom 76
    Japan Democracy 8.15; Freedom 96
    New Zealand Democracy 9.37; Freedom 99
    Uganda Democracy 5.14; Freedom 34
    UK Democracy 8.82; Freedom 93

  17. t seemed to be a vote in which several hundred voters….

    More like several thousand, many of whom all had the same email address (and I don’t just mean a couple of people in the same household, but long runs with identical addresses) and none of whom had postal or physical addresses.

    Once upon a time, there was an uproar because there was a string of Hugo Award nominations all submitted at the same time with attached supporting memberships, all paid for with consecutively numbered money orders and all from the same PO Box. (WSFS rules were changed to make it more difficult to pull such a stunt; this is why you have to be a member by the end of January or of the previous Worldcon in order to nominate.) Funny how attitudes have changed, eh?

    We do now know the approximate cost to purchase a Worldcon site selection election, though: Assuming a $50 WSFS (former supporting) membership and a $50 Advance WSFS membership (formerly known as the voting fee), it seems likely that $300,000 would be sufficient, of which $150,000 should come right back into your coffers as WSFS/supporting memberships once you won. The only uncertainty would be whether other candidates were doing the same thing. Naturally, if all bids started doing this, we could dispense with entire voting process entirely and replace it with a system whereby whichever group bid the highest amount of money to be paid to the administering Worldcon would be presented with the franchise. Sort of like the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup bidding process.

  18. @Kevin: I don’t recall any discussion in December 2021 about duplicate email addresses – as I recall the only bone of contention was missing street addresses. Can you point me to a discussion from back then about duplicate email addresses?

    Thanks.

  19. I don’t recall any discussion in December 2021 about duplicate email addresses – as I recall the only bone of contention was missing street addresses.

    I have the same recollection — it was not raised as an issue during the site selection vote.

    I asked Kevin Standlee here in November where he made the claim, either before or during the vote, and he did not answer.

  20. Many, probably most, Chinese citizens wishing to vote in site selection did not have Visa or Mastercard. Since Discon did not support any alternative payment system, it had seemed to me at the time that they would have been forced to resort to transferring the funds for their registration via something like WeChat Pay or Alipay to a person who had the right kind of credit card. If that is what Kevin is referring to, it seems like a misrepresentation.

  21. I know what I saw, but based on what happened, if I provided any proof to you, you’d scream at me for the same reasons you wanted me tarred, feathered, and burned at the stake back in December 2021. The Chair of the administering convention appears to have decided that it wasn’t important. Think about what sort of proof you would want to see and then see whether you wouldn’t be infuriated about anyone releasing it — even though the WSFS Constitution allows all bids to record that information.

    I wonder what would have happened I had a spare few hundred thousand dollars sitting around and had submitted 2000 or so votes all with the same email address, no physical address, and with names harvested from a telephone book.

    It’s certainly shown to me that having representatives from the bids present in the counting room and involved in validating voter information appears to be irrelevant if the administering convention doesn’t care. All that matters is having Lots of Money.

  22. So no, it’s not something you publicly complained about at the time. You can’t point us to anything at all that shows you said anything at the time.

    Kevin, I’m truly sorry, but you’re not doing yourself any favors.

  23. @Kevin Standlee

    You have my sympathy. You haven’t had a good option for responding to this issue. I appreciate the work you do.

    I also agree that highlighting this issue (within the limits of WSFS rules) when it was occurring would have been more helpful.

    @Jonanthan

    I disagree with outsourcing the responsibility of Worldcon voters to vet future sites properly. Those other resources possess biases and may or may not share the values of most Worldcon voters. Also, the bar you set is high enough it would bar several countries that are on an improving path with respect to individual liberty from hosting a Worldcon. Edge cases like that are better decided by Worldcon voters.

    I decided that I wasn’t going to participate in a Worldcon in China a long time ago. Not only is the communist government of China abusive, but they have also demonstrated no inclination towards reform. Even Saudi Arabia is trying (very, very slowly) to modernize their society.

    Also, the site selection/voting process looked sketchy to me for the reasons we are now discussing.

    My apologies to the legit fans of genre fiction in China. My contacts in China are almost uniformly really nice people. Your government is problematic to the point where it cannot be overlooked.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Make Orwell fiction again.

  24. I know what I saw, but based on what happened, if I provided any proof to you, you’d scream at me for the same reasons you wanted me tarred, feathered, and burned at the stake back in December 2021.

    I criticized you then for publicly releasing country vote totals while the vote was still going on. I was a Winnipeg supporter but it was an unprecedented move by a bid committee member in an attempt to influence the outcome, as you acknowledged.

    That has nothing to do with your allegation that thousands of Chengdu voters bought memberships with identical email addresses — because you never made that allegation publicly.

    You have lamented being “loudly denounced” and removed from positions for raising an alarm, but you didn’t actually raise an alarm. You could have told the Worldcon community what was going on at the time, since you believed the vote was being corruptly manipulated, but instead you took an action to manipulate the process in Winnipeg’s favor.

    I don’t understand why you didn’t just raise the issue of identical email addresses during the vote, when something could have been done about it.

  25. @Kevin Standlee

    Andrew (not Werdna) asked for evidence that you had raised the issue. Surely you could provide that without going to lengths that would attract criticism (which is all you got before). If it was published – and I can’t see why it would not have been – you can point to the publication. If you raised it with the administrators then you could ask them to tell us that you did raise it.

  26. rcade on December 15, 2022 at 9:25 am said:

    I don’t understand why you didn’t just raise the issue of identical email addresses during the vote, when something could have been done about it.

    Because it’s because I would have had to reveal even more information from during validation, and you’ve already said that what was already revealed was Wrong. Don’t you think that releasing a photograph of a page of voting-token information (i.e. the purchases of the right to vote) showing a long string of identical email addresses (and no other addresses, as almost none of the ballots from China had anything other than an email address) would have gotten you just as much in arms?

    I raised the issue through the convention’s internal channels, and they rejected it at the highest level, and the Chair fired me for what I did say in public. If I’d published what I saw, people would have probably been calling for my public execution, and yet they say I’m lying when I don’t publish it.

    You’re right that I didn’t say anything in public. But what would have been the point? The convention chair didn’t want to hear anything about it, and that was that. When it became clear that nothing was going to change, I joined those who decided to give up. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. But apparently I’m the bad guy and I’m just lying.

  27. @Kevin Standlee: Thank you for the information. I had been afraid that I forgotten something vital from last year’s events (or that I had missed some big news among all the other events going on at that time).

  28. Because it’s because I would have had to reveal even more information from during validation, and you’ve already said that what was already revealed was Wrong. Don’t you think that releasing a photograph of a page of voting-token information (i.e. the purchases of the right to vote) showing a long string of identical email addresses (and no other addresses, as almost none of the ballots from China had anything other than an email address) would have gotten you just as much in arms?

    You could have said it was happening without sharing photographs of anything. If you had said that a large number of voters in site selection had the same email address, a lot of people in the Worldcon community would have taken your claim seriously. Especially if the identical emails was as many as you’ve said recently.

    Just because people objected to one thing you did doesn’t mean anything you did would’ve been treated as objectionable.

    What’s the point of allowing bid committees access to vote counting if those committees don’t tell the community when something questionable is going on?

  29. Kevin only said that “runs of identical addresses” were longer than a single household, not how many addresses were identical.

    Discon probably couldn’t think how to answer Kevin’s complaint because, at the last minute, they instructed Chinese fans to have somebody else do it for them as a “workaround.”

    “We have had to remove WeChat as a payment option. Due to their restrictions on charitable giving, we are unable to use WeChat services at this time. Our tech team is working to find a workaround to help overseas fans who want to pay using WeChat. That said, all of our other avenues are still available, and there’s still time to join us at DisCon III. Please visit our member services page to purchase your membership.”

  30. @Brian Z–The paragraph you quote doesn’t instruct Chinese fans to have somebody else do it for them. Nor does anything else on the page you linked to. It says Discon III was “working to find a workaround to help overseas fans who want to pay using WeChat.” And then adds that their other [payment] avenues are available.

    That’s not at all the same thing as telling them to have someone else register for them, which could result in multiple unrelated fans using the same email address, much less what Kevin actually said:

    More like several thousand, many of whom all had the same email address (and I don’t just mean a couple of people in the same household, but long runs with identical addresses) and none of whom had postal or physical addresses.

    Assuming we won’t read what’s right on the page we’re looking at, including the bit you called attention to by quoting it, isn’t persuasive.

  31. Can you think of any last-minute workaround other than some Chinese fans who have Visa or Mastercard submitting registrations for most Chinese fans who don’t?

    (If Worldcon has addressed disparities in access to payment systems at any other point in its history, it has slipped my mind.)

    I think we agree it would have been more helpful if Kevin had raised his complaint about identical addresses at the time (and presumably he would have had to quantify what he means by that).

  32. Oh! Kevin may not have seen value in mentioning at the time that, as he indicates above, “many” (not “most”) of the thousands of Chengdu ballots were part of “long runs of identical email addresses” since Chengdu beat Winnipeg 2006 to 807. Even supposing half of the ballots could have been challeged on these grounds, the outcome would be unchanged.

  33. No, Brian, I don’t know what could have been done. I also don’t have all the information site selection had, and neither do you.

    Which is completely irrelevant to the point that you claimed the paragraph you quoted says something it manifestly does not say. You don’t get to make up a meaning for it just because you can’t think of another solution than multiple people using the same email addresses. The paragraph does not instruct overseas fans to purchase memberships by means of multiple fans sharing a single email address. Andcyou know that.

  34. Chengdu beat Winnipeg 2006 to 807. Even supposing half of the ballots could have been challenged on these grounds, the outcome would be unchanged.

    Wouldn’t you prefer to know how many members had identical email addresses before assuming this wasn’t a problem?

    The site selection votes are destroyed after the count but the convention knows how many people joined with identical email addresses and when they joined.

  35. Why would I need that number? Because Kevin Standlee, lion of the Business Meeting, can recite Robert’s Rules of Order backwards yet when he has the opportunity to spend time with a few thousand site selection ballots suddenly finds himself unable to count higher than the number of his toes?

  36. Brian Z: Whatever point you were hoping to make in all that sarcasm is lost on me.

    If thousands or even hundreds of voters had identical email addresses, I hope someone will step forward and corroborate Kevin’s allegation.

  37. You pull “hundreds” and “thousands” out of thin air.

    Kevin alleged seeing X runs of identical emails, of which Y were larger than a family group, affecting a total of Z ballots.

    He knows how to count if he finds it to his advantage to do so.

  38. I didn’t pull it out of thin air. In a comment from November I linked earlier in this discussion, Kevin said:

    Oh, I forgot. There were no irregularities of any sort, no, none at all. Therefore, I expect you will be at the forefront of those people demanding than anyone raising any questions about the 2023 Worldcon be utterly silent, as the thousands of members of WSFS who purchased memberships online using long runs of identical email address have spoken.

  39. Interesting. He’s walked it back here in this thread. If revealing the actual numbers were helpful to his cause, he would have told us.

  40. But even as I say this, I admit, my heart agrees with you. Sometimes “Custom [is] more honored in the breach than the observance.”
    I just hope we get Mr. Sawyer back unharmed. China often disappears people, & they are not happy with us, due to our support of Taiwan.

    FWIW, Michaele Jordan, I believe Robert Sawyer is Canadian.

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