Worldcon 2023 to be held in China

A screenshot from Star Wars IV: A New Hope featuring Luke Skywalker. Text reads "I've got a very bad feeling about this..."
Copyright: Lucasfilm Limited, 1977
23rd December 2021

Worldcon becomes the latest organisation to assist the Chinese government in legitimising itself on the world stage, and distracting from human rights abuse in Tibet, East Turkestan, and Hong Kong.

On Wednesday 22 December Worldcon announced, via its website, that Chengdu has won its bid to host the event in 2023. As one of the largest science fiction conventions in the world, the Chinese government will use this as an oppotunity to legitimise itself on the world stage and deflect attention from atrocities committed against Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and many more living under the regime, as has happened with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Worldcon is host to the Hugo Awards, one of the most prominent sci-fi and fantasy book awards in the world. Accepting a Hugo Award in 2019, author Jeannette Ng used her time on stage to inform the world about Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, blasting the Hong Kong Police Force as: "Masked, anonymous, stormtroopers of an autocratic empire." In 2023, this, in Jeannette's words, "autocratic empire," will be host to these awards - de facto barring entry to those like Jeannette Ng, who will use their platform to raise awareness of the Chinese Government's actions.

Image of Jeanette Ng on stage at Dublin Worldcon 2019, accepting an award.
2019 Astounding Award winner Jeannette Ng spoke passionately on stage about her home, Hong Kong, and the struggles people there face against the Chinese Government. Via Youtube, Angry Robot Books.

The Chinese Government's brutal suppression of free speech serves as the antithesis to the creative and challenging thinking that Worldcon creates. For Tibetans this is painfully true, as each year in Tibet thousands are arrested for speaking their mind and practicing their culture. The atmosphere of fear and silence which the Chinese Communist Party tries to create in Tibet acts entirely against the nature of science fiction, which causes us to think introspectively about our worldviews, and question our place in the universe.

Free Tibet CEO, Sam Walton, urged Worldcon organisers to reverse their decision, stating:

"We hope Worldcon reconsiders legitimising Chinese occupation of one of the most inspiring places on earth."

Tell Team GB to stop legitimising the Chinese Government

Worldcon isn't the first organisation to host events in China, allowing the Chinese Government to legitimise its oppressive regime. In 2022 the Winter Olympics will be hosted in Beijing, making the city the first in sports history to host both the summer and winter games.

Tell the British Olympic Association to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, and stop legitimising the Chinese Government's human rights abuse.