“Polish Fandom” has issued a petition directed towards the Board of the Chengdu Worldcon, requesting (not for the first time) that one of the convention’s Guests of Honor, Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko, be removed from that position, owing to his public advocacy for “…beating Ukrainian children until they learn to love mother Russia…” and being a man “who enthusiastically applauds the bombardment of Ukrainian cities and crimes committed by Russian soldiers.”
Ukrainian Fans issued a similar petition for the removal of Lukyanenko when his selection as a GoH was originally announced.
Unfortunately, and especially in light of the recent meetings between China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin (both leaders of authoritarian, dictatorial regimes) discussing ways in which China can help Russia prosecute its invasion of Ukraine, it is very unlikely that this or any other petition will have a demonstrable effect, except perhaps on potential foreign attendees.
Were this convention being held in a country that does not hold the threat of imprisonment or death over the heads of its citizenry (and minds and spies on foreign visitors), we would expect local fans to be joining this position in protest. As it is, we think that Chinese fans are either ignorant of the circumstance (owing to government censorship) or justifiably fearful of retaliation. Inaction on the part of Chinese fans is regrettable but understandable and we do not think that they should be targeted as being complicit through their inaction. Rather, it is up to Fandom from outside of China to do the heavy lifting.
If you think that an author who advocates for the beating of children to force them to believe in bullshit and bombing civilians are legitimate positions for a Worldcon Guest of Honor to voice publicly, then, by all means, please feel free to attend the Chengdu Worldcon…if it actually happens.
If you don’t think Worldcon should be used as a platform to elevate Fascists – then don’t support this Worldcon. Don’t work for this Worldcon, don’t attend this Worldcon, don’t legitimize this Worldcon.
If you would like to sign (or read) the petition, you can do so here.