Discussion:
Request for community guidance on issue concerning a future meeting of the IETF
(too old to reply)
Marshall Eubanks
2009-09-18 15:42:00 UTC
Permalink
Greetings;

We have received numerous suggestions and requests for an IETF meeting
in China and the IAOC has been working on a potential China meeting for
several years. We are now close to making a decision on a potential
upcoming meeting in China. However, the following issue has arisen
and we would appreciate your feedback.

The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech. A fundamental law in China
requires that one not criticize the government. Practically, this
has reference to public political statements or protest marches, which
are not the IETF's custom. The government, which is a party to the
issue,
requires that people who attend conferences in China (the IETF being
but one example) not engage in political speech during their tour
in China. We consider this to be acceptable, on the basis that the
IETF intends to abide by the laws of whatever nations it visits and
we don't believe that this impacts our ability to do technical work.

The rule is implemented in the Hotel agreement and reads (note that
the "Client" would be the Host, and the "Group" would be the IETF) :

"Should the contents of the Group's activities, visual or audio
presentations at the conference,or printed materials used at the
conference (which are within the control of the Client) contain
any defamation against the Government of the People's Republic
of China, or show any disrespect to the Chinese culture, or
violates any laws of the People's Republic of China or feature
any topics regarding human rights or religion without prior
approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China,
the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot
and/or ask the person(s) who initiates or participates in any or
all of the above action to leave the hotel premises immediately.

The Client will support and assist the Hotel with the necessary
actions to handle such situations. Should there be any financial
loss incurred to the Hotel or damage caused to the Hotel's
reputation as a result of any or all of the above acts, the Hotel
will claim compensation from the Client."

What does this condition mean ? The hotel staff would have, in theory,
the legal right to shut down the meeting and ask the offending
participants to leave the property immediately. While we do not
foresee a situation where such action would take place, we feel that
it is proper to disclose these conditions to the community.

The members of the IAOC, speaking as individuals, do not like this
condition as a matter of principle. The IAOC does believe that this
condition would not prevent the IETF from conducting its business.

We note that the Vancouver/Quebec survey conducted earlier this year
asked for people to suggest venues in Asia; an overwhelming majority
(94%) of those who mentioned China were in favor of having a meeting
there.

We are therefore asking for input from the community by two means - by
commenting on the IETF discussion list, and also by completing a very
short survey on people's intentions to travel to China, or not,
subject to these conditions. This survey can be found here :

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=h4DUkRUOdG_2bVLqioPcYYHw_3d_3d

All responses received by October 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM EDT (1300 UTC)
will be considered by the IAOC in making its decision. We appreciate
the assistance of the community in providing us with data that will
help us to make an informed decision.

Regards
Marshall Eubanks
(acting for the IAOC)
Tim Bray
2009-09-18 16:06:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Eubanks
The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech.
Perhaps more material to this discussion, the government has imposed
severe and wide-ranging restrictions on people's access to the
Internet. This bites most sharply at the Web/HTTP level.

[Non-rhetorical information-seeking question: Is IRC access unrestricted?]

Thus, operators of a Web-centric conference might have to decide
between declining to go, based on the Web's being restricted to a
crippled subset of itself, or alternatively to use an event there as a
teaching platform as to the benefits of an uncensored Web.

Also, bear in mind that there are a large number of people around the
world who are very angry at the Chinese government, and are looking
for opportunities to stage protests as visibly as possible. It is not
inconceivable that some of them are IETF attendees and might choose to
try to do this in the IETF context. The thought of the IETF or hotel
being held liable for what the government perceives as illegal action,
or on the other hand being forced to be a party to trying to prevent
what I'd see as a legitimate protest, are both extremely unattractive.

Finally, it wouldn't be that surprising if there was some amused news
coverage about the IETF meeting in the world capital of Internet
censorship.

-Tim
Peter Saint-Andre
2009-09-18 17:03:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Bray
Post by Marshall Eubanks
The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech.
Perhaps more material to this discussion, the government has imposed
severe and wide-ranging restrictions on people's access to the
Internet. This bites most sharply at the Web/HTTP level.
Given that my blog is probably blocked, I suppose I won't be doing any
blogging that week. ;-)

Peter

- --
Peter Saint-Andre
https://stpeter.im/
Matt Crawford
2009-09-18 16:12:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Eubanks
We are therefore asking for input from the community by two means - by
commenting on the IETF discussion list, ...
I'm trying to imagine the thought police remaining calm during a
plenary such as the one at Danvers. I can't quite picture it.
Scott Brim
2009-09-18 16:14:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Eubanks
Greetings;
We have received numerous suggestions and requests for an IETF meeting
in China and the IAOC has been working on a potential China meeting for
several years. We are now close to making a decision on a potential
upcoming meeting in China. However, the following issue has arisen
and we would appreciate your feedback.
The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech. A fundamental law in China
requires that one not criticize the government. Practically, this
has reference to public political statements or protest marches, which
are not the IETF's custom. The government, which is a party to the
issue,
requires that people who attend conferences in China (the IETF being
but one example) not engage in political speech during their tour
in China. We consider this to be acceptable, on the basis that the
IETF intends to abide by the laws of whatever nations it visits and
we don't believe that this impacts our ability to do technical work.
The rule is implemented in the Hotel agreement and reads (note that
"Should the contents of the Group's activities, visual or audio
presentations at the conference,or printed materials used at the
conference (which are within the control of the Client) contain
any defamation against the Government of the People's Republic
of China, or show any disrespect to the Chinese culture, or
violates any laws of the People's Republic of China or feature
any topics regarding human rights or religion without prior
approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China,
the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot
and/or ask the person(s) who initiates or participates in any or
all of the above action to leave the hotel premises immediately.
The Client will support and assist the Hotel with the necessary
actions to handle such situations. Should there be any financial
loss incurred to the Hotel or damage caused to the Hotel's
reputation as a result of any or all of the above acts, the Hotel
will claim compensation from the Client."
What does this condition mean ? The hotel staff would have, in theory,
the legal right to shut down the meeting and ask the offending
participants to leave the property immediately. While we do not
foresee a situation where such action would take place, we feel that
it is proper to disclose these conditions to the community.
I don't see that. Is this what they told you? What I see is:

- the _conference_ materials shouldn't contain political speech.
"which are within control of the client"

- if an _individual_ does so, that individual may be asked to leave.

I don't see "if anyone says anything they could shut the conference
down".

Scott
Marshall Eubanks
2009-09-18 16:38:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott Brim
Post by Marshall Eubanks
Greetings;
We have received numerous suggestions and requests for an IETF meeting
in China and the IAOC has been working on a potential China meeting for
several years. We are now close to making a decision on a potential
upcoming meeting in China. However, the following issue has arisen
and we would appreciate your feedback.
The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech. A fundamental law in China
requires that one not criticize the government. Practically, this
has reference to public political statements or protest marches, which
are not the IETF's custom. The government, which is a party to the
issue,
requires that people who attend conferences in China (the IETF being
but one example) not engage in political speech during their tour
in China. We consider this to be acceptable, on the basis that the
IETF intends to abide by the laws of whatever nations it visits and
we don't believe that this impacts our ability to do technical work.
The rule is implemented in the Hotel agreement and reads (note that
"Should the contents of the Group's activities, visual or audio
presentations at the conference,or printed materials used at the
conference (which are within the control of the Client) contain
any defamation against the Government of the People's Republic
of China, or show any disrespect to the Chinese culture, or
violates any laws of the People's Republic of China or feature
any topics regarding human rights or religion without prior
approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China,
the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot
and/or ask the person(s) who initiates or participates in any or
all of the above action to leave the hotel premises immediately.
The Client will support and assist the Hotel with the necessary
actions to handle such situations. Should there be any financial
loss incurred to the Hotel or damage caused to the Hotel's
reputation as a result of any or all of the above acts, the Hotel
will claim compensation from the Client."
What does this condition mean ? The hotel staff would have, in theory,
the legal right to shut down the meeting and ask the offending
participants to leave the property immediately. While we do not
foresee a situation where such action would take place, we feel that
it is proper to disclose these conditions to the community.
- the _conference_ materials shouldn't contain political speech.
"which are within control of the client"
In the above,

"the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot"

I, speaking just for myself, think that this is extremely unlikely to
happen.
There have been a number of technical meetings in the PRC in the
recent past,
and I haven't heard of any being shut down. Also, this would be a very
serious step
for any venue to take, and would likely mean a near termination of any
future foreign
conference business for them for quite some time to come.

Others, of course, will have to judge this probability for themselves.

Regards
Marshall
Post by Scott Brim
- if an _individual_ does so, that individual may be asked to leave.
I don't see "if anyone says anything they could shut the conference
down".
Scott
Carsten Bormann
2009-09-18 16:26:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Eubanks
The IAOC does believe that this
condition would not prevent the IETF from conducting its business.
Marshall,

I also do not believe that the IETF needs to violate this condition to
do its business.
However, in this case there are two aspects out of control:
1) The IETF participants may have a different interpretation of the
condition than you and I have.
2) The people running the place may have a different interpretation of
the condition than you and I have.

I have lived close enough to what was the GDR for long enough to know
that 2 is an extremely uncontrollable problem.
(And I have been in the IETF long enough to think that 1 isn't much
more controllable.)

China certainly deserves to host a meeting.
Has the SAR (Hong Kong) been considered?

Gruesse, Carsten
John C Klensin
2009-09-18 18:28:47 UTC
Permalink
Marshall,

Since seeing your note, I've been trying to figure out how to
formulate my concern. Carsten's note captured it for me, so
let me be a little more specific.

First, thanks for asking.

I am deliberately not addressing the "where else could we meet
where things would be better" question, the visa issues, or any
of the other logistical questions in this note.

Let's assume (at least for purposes of argument -- I assume some
members of the community might disagree) that we can trust the
government of the PRC to be sensible in this sort of matter, to
understand what an IETF meeting implies, etc. The difficulty is
that, from things I've heard informally, the proposed Host
("Client") isn't the government or a government body.

I am concerned that, if there is some incident --completely
unrelated to IETF-- that someone associated with the host or
hotel might overreact and decide to interpret, e.g., a
discussion about mandatory-to-implement cryptography, as pushing
too close to the "politics" or "criticism" line. I'd be much
less concerned if any perceived incident led to some sort of
conversation between "us" and relevant government folks about
real issues and boundaries than if (and I assume this is an
exaggeration) some middle-level hotel employee could panic and
pull the eject lever.

john


--On Friday, September 18, 2009 18:26 +0200 Carsten Bormann
Post by Carsten Bormann
Post by Marshall Eubanks
The IAOC does believe that this
condition would not prevent the IETF from conducting its
business.
...
I have lived close enough to what was the GDR for long enough
to know that 2 is an extremely uncontrollable problem.
(And I have been in the IETF long enough to think that 1 isn't
much more controllable.)
...
Ole Jacobsen
2009-09-18 18:41:24 UTC
Permalink
John,

Since both you and I have attended meetings in China, as recently as 3
weeks ago, I think you will agree that the host --- any host --- has
a significant investment in effort, people and funds along with a
great deal of pride and determination that the meeting run
"perfectly." Given all that, I would find it very surprising that the
host would allow a random hotel employee, or anyone else for that
matter, to pull the eject lever to use your term. I also very much
doubt that government officials (if we assume they will be present)
are looking for an excuse to throw us out and shut the meeting down.
Perhaps if this was a Greenpeace conference, but it's not.

This isn't to say that I "agree" with the conditions, just that I feel
fairly confident that an IETF meeting running "normally" would not
find itself running afoul of any of these rules.

I would also like to remind everyone that ONE of the reasons a meeting
is being proposed in China is that the IETF now has a significant
number (and growing) of Chinese participants and for reasons beyond
our control, many of them are having difficulties obtaining visas to
visit the United States when we have IETF meetings here.

Ole
Post by Carsten Bormann
Marshall,
Since seeing your note, I've been trying to figure out how to
formulate my concern. Carsten's note captured it for me, so let me
be a little more specific.
First, thanks for asking.
I am deliberately not addressing the "where else could we meet where
things would be better" question, the visa issues, or any of the
other logistical questions in this note.
Let's assume (at least for purposes of argument -- I assume some
members of the community might disagree) that we can trust the
government of the PRC to be sensible in this sort of matter, to
understand what an IETF meeting implies, etc. The difficulty is
that, from things I've heard informally, the proposed Host
("Client") isn't the government or a government body.
I am concerned that, if there is some incident --completely
unrelated to IETF-- that someone associated with the host or hotel
might overreact and decide to interpret, e.g., a discussion about
mandatory-to-implement cryptography, as pushing too close to the
"politics" or "criticism" line. I'd be much less concerned if any
perceived incident led to some sort of conversation between "us" and
relevant government folks about real issues and boundaries than if
(and I assume this is an exaggeration) some middle-level hotel
employee could panic and pull the eject lever.
john
Paul Wouters
2009-09-18 19:02:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by John C Klensin
I am concerned that, if there is some incident --completely
unrelated to IETF-- that someone associated with the host or
hotel might overreact and decide to interpret, e.g., a
discussion about mandatory-to-implement cryptography, as pushing
too close to the "politics" or "criticism" line.
Those concerns are not different with other countries, including the US.
A few hours after 9/11, once I was over my initial shock, I started
downloading all cryptography software I knew was hosted mainly in
the United States. We are far from a universal faith in any national
government.

Pre-emptively excluding countries based on culture, (perceived) bias,
or other non-technical and non-organisation arguments is wrong. So if the
visa issues are not much worse then for other countries, and an internet
connection not hampered by a Great Firewall, I see no reason to single
out China. Perhaps appropriate people could inform about organisational
matters with others who have more experience, for example the IOC.

Paul
Henk Uijterwaal
2009-09-18 19:29:08 UTC
Permalink
John, (and others),
Post by John C Klensin
The difficulty is
that, from things I've heard informally, the proposed Host
("Client") isn't the government or a government body.
The (possible) host is not a government body. However, the host must
have permission from the government to organize the meeting, they
asked for it and got it.

I think it is safe to assume that the government did run some checks
on what the IETF is doing and, if we did keep ourselves busy with
things they do not like, then I seriously doubt that they would
have given the host permission to invite us in the first place.

Henk
--
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Henk Uijterwaal Email: henk.uijterwaal(at)ripe.net
RIPE Network Coordination Centre http://www.xs4all.nl/~henku
P.O.Box 10096 Singel 258 Phone: +31.20.5354414
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The Netherlands The Netherlands Mobile: +31.6.55861746
Noel Chiappa
2009-09-18 17:00:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carsten Bormann
Has the SAR (Hong Kong) been considered?
Excellent idea. Does HK have the same 'Great Firewall of China' issues
(which I would assume would be a fairly significant problem for many
IETF members)?

Noel
Donald Eastlake
2009-09-18 17:28:24 UTC
Permalink
To quote from Wikipedia: "Most national laws of the People's Republic
of China do not apply to the Special Administrative Regions of Hong
Kong or Macau. There are no known cases of the Chinese authorities
censoring critical political or religious [Internet] content in those
territories."

I am opposed to the IETF meeting in China except in Hong Kong or
Macau. While one could argue endlessly about how likely such IETF
documents as RFC 1984 and RFC 2804 or such politically and culturally
sensitive issues as language tags, "internationalization" of
protocols, issuance of advice/requests to international authorities in
reference to country codes, etc., will be a problem, it seems to me
that the risk is too great.

Thanks,
Donald
=============================
Donald E. Eastlake 3rd +1-508-634-2066 (home)
155 Beaver Street
Milford, MA 01757 USA
   > Has the SAR (Hong Kong) been considered?
Excellent idea. Does HK have the same 'Great Firewall of China' issues
(which I would assume would be a fairly significant problem for many
IETF members)?
       Noel
_______________________________________________
Ietf mailing list
https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/ietf
Peter Saint-Andre
2009-09-18 17:42:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Eubanks
"Should the contents of the Group's activities, visual or audio
presentations at the conference,or printed materials used at the
conference (which are within the control of the Client) contain
any defamation against the Government of the People's Republic
of China, or show any disrespect to the Chinese culture, or
violates any laws of the People's Republic of China or feature
any topics regarding human rights or religion without prior
approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China,
the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot
and/or ask the person(s) who initiates or participates in any or
all of the above action to leave the hotel premises immediately.
The Client will support and assist the Hotel with the necessary
actions to handle such situations. Should there be any financial
loss incurred to the Hotel or damage caused to the Hotel's
reputation as a result of any or all of the above acts, the Hotel
will claim compensation from the Client."
What does this condition mean ?
The problem is that we have no idea what this means, and even worse we
have in principle no way of discovering what it might mean. Presumably
interpretation of the rule will be up to the local authorities, and we
have no way of knowing beforehand what activities might be they might
construe as defamation of the local government, disrespect for the local
culture, violation of the local laws, or discussion of human rights or
religion. However, we can think of many statements that could be made
and topics that could be discussed at an IETF meeting that might fall
afoul of this rule. As a recent example, consider the session on network
neutrality during the technical plenary at IETF 75, which included a
freewheeling discussion about encryption as a human right (as I recall,
Ted Hardie even used the word "liberty"). Given the extraordinarily
vague nature of this condition, I think its effect would be chilling on
the freedom of speech that is necessary to complete even our technical
work, which as we know often threatens the asserted power of those who
function on Layer 8.

Peter

- --
Peter Saint-Andre
https://stpeter.im/
Dean Willis
2009-09-18 18:38:02 UTC
Permalink
Finally, do you think that, in this group of people, there won't be
at least one who cannot resist stating their opinions about some
political hot button? Or for that matter, figure out they can DoS
the entire IETF by throwing up a controversial slide. Obviously
there's some wiggle-room in the "within the control of the client"
clause--but that's the sort of thing that gets worked out in courts
later. It's not very helpful when the on-site authorities have
already pulled the plug, and I don't expect them to be sympathetic
to the idea that the IETF cannot control the behavior of it's
participants.
You are absolutely right.

I might find a little political speech tempting, and can assure you
that there would be a number of other people with pithy political
comments to make.

Perhaps something like "Free Tibet and Taiwan, Celebrate Falan Gong,
Porn is a Human Right", as a footer on every slide? After all, we
have no rules about political speech. If the IETF tried to move to
suppress such discourse, we could well be sued back in the States.

I can certainly imagine people with agendae using this as an
opportunity to score massive publicity by getting the IETF shut down
or even better arranging for mass arrests and/or related civil
disobedience on a large scale. It might even be a good thing, but it
would be better if we weren't caught in the middle of it. Or maybe I'm
wrong; perhaps the best service we can give the world is to be made
examples of in China.

There are other risks as well. It wasn't too long ago that the Mexican
government had to send a plane to retrieve many of the Mexican
citizens in the country, after PRC health authorities decided to put
them all into a rather primitive extended quarantine (read
"concentration/death camp"). Given the IETF's penchant for outbreaks
of respiratory diseases (the "IETF cold/flu" that frequently gets
around), I'd not like to have that happen to us. I was doing standards
work and we were scheduled to meet in Guangdong during the SARS
outbreak, and remember television scenes of hospitals fenced in with
barbed wire, with the afflicted being fork-lifted over the fence to
die, as all supplies in the hospitals had supposedly been exhausted
and water and electricity cut off to "prevent spread". Not that any
country would do all that well in such a situation, but the People's
Republic of China has a proven track record of being rather scary, at
least from a western point of view.

See:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8033089.stm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124137876507580987.html

http://www.salisburypost.com/Lifestyle/082109-quarantined-in-china

So all in all, I'd say I'm not comfortable with the idea of an IETF
meeting in the PRC at this time. Maybe, in a few years, if they open
up their Internet and cut back on the human rights abuses associated
with the users of our technology (making bloggers "disappear" is just
NOT acceptable), then we'll be ready to meet there. But not now, not
yet.

--
Dean
Dave CROCKER
2009-09-18 18:49:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Eubanks
We are therefore asking for input from the community by two means - by
commenting on the IETF discussion list,
Marshall,

Thanks for asking.

I've only been to China a couple of times, but it was enough to be impressed,
particularly with many aspects of their Internet technical and operations savvy.

Alas, that's not the question here.

As a community, we of the IETF are extremely diverse, extremely undisciplined,
and extremely insensitive. In particular, attempting to place us into an
environment with distinctive political constraints is loaded with risk. We
can't even follow local customs to avoid sitting in inappropriate places in the
hotel (Munich), nevermind the already-noted exchange that took place at the last
IETF Plenary...

We should try to avoid venues that have visa challenges and behavior challenges.
Our diversity ensures that the former will be a real problem. Our unruliness
makes the latter quite likely to be a problem.

d/
--
Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking
bbiw.net
Ross Callon
2009-09-18 19:11:10 UTC
Permalink
Speaking solely as an individual, providing only my personal opinion:

I think that this is not acceptable and we should not sign it.

I understand that no location is perfect. However, I think that this goes well beyond what we normally put up with and well beyond what we should put up with.

There are two classes of issues which concern me:

The first is the risk to the IETF. I understand that the likelihood of anything happening as a result of this is very low. However, the IETF is a very unruly and opinionated group, and is probably more unruly than other groups that have recently met in China (or anywhere else). We have little idea what IETF attendees will do either in spite of or even because of this restriction. It would not be surprising to have some sort of major dust-up at the IESG plenary over this issue, and we don't know how the host country officials would react to this. Also, while the risk of the meeting being stopped in the middle seems very low, if it did happen this would be a very bad result for all concerned. If one IETF attendee were to be booted out of the hosting country based on something that they said
or put on their slides or in a jabber room even that would be very bad.

Also, from a moral point of view I don't think that we should accept this. Freedom of speech is a very basic freedom that is guaranteed in a wide range of countries (although of course not all). The people who live there don't have the ability to say "no" without serious consequences. We DO have the ability to say no, and I think that we should.

Again, this is just my personal opinion, and not the opinion of any group nor organization that I might happen to be associated with.

thanks, Ross

-----Original Message-----
From: iesg-***@ietf.org [mailto:iesg-***@ietf.org] On Behalf Of Marshall Eubanks
Sent: 18 September 2009 11:42
To: IETF Announcement list; IETF-Discussion list; Working Group Chairs
Cc: IAOC Jabberr; IAB IAB; IESG; irtf-***@irtf.org
Subject: Request for community guidance on issue concerning a future meeting of the IETF

Greetings;

We have received numerous suggestions and requests for an IETF meeting
in China and the IAOC has been working on a potential China meeting for
several years. We are now close to making a decision on a potential
upcoming meeting in China. However, the following issue has arisen
and we would appreciate your feedback.

The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech. A fundamental law in China
requires that one not criticize the government. Practically, this
has reference to public political statements or protest marches, which
are not the IETF's custom. The government, which is a party to the
issue,
requires that people who attend conferences in China (the IETF being
but one example) not engage in political speech during their tour
in China. We consider this to be acceptable, on the basis that the
IETF intends to abide by the laws of whatever nations it visits and
we don't believe that this impacts our ability to do technical work.

The rule is implemented in the Hotel agreement and reads (note that
the "Client" would be the Host, and the "Group" would be the IETF) :

"Should the contents of the Group's activities, visual or audio
presentations at the conference,or printed materials used at the
conference (which are within the control of the Client) contain
any defamation against the Government of the People's Republic
of China, or show any disrespect to the Chinese culture, or
violates any laws of the People's Republic of China or feature
any topics regarding human rights or religion without prior
approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China,
the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot
and/or ask the person(s) who initiates or participates in any or
all of the above action to leave the hotel premises immediately.

The Client will support and assist the Hotel with the necessary
actions to handle such situations. Should there be any financial
loss incurred to the Hotel or damage caused to the Hotel's
reputation as a result of any or all of the above acts, the Hotel
will claim compensation from the Client."

What does this condition mean ? The hotel staff would have, in theory,
the legal right to shut down the meeting and ask the offending
participants to leave the property immediately. While we do not
foresee a situation where such action would take place, we feel that
it is proper to disclose these conditions to the community.

The members of the IAOC, speaking as individuals, do not like this
condition as a matter of principle. The IAOC does believe that this
condition would not prevent the IETF from conducting its business.

We note that the Vancouver/Quebec survey conducted earlier this year
asked for people to suggest venues in Asia; an overwhelming majority
(94%) of those who mentioned China were in favor of having a meeting
there.

We are therefore asking for input from the community by two means - by
commenting on the IETF discussion list, and also by completing a very
short survey on people's intentions to travel to China, or not,
subject to these conditions. This survey can be found here :

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=h4DUkRUOdG_2bVLqioPcYYHw_3d_3d

All responses received by October 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM EDT (1300 UTC)
will be considered by the IAOC in making its decision. We appreciate
the assistance of the community in providing us with data that will
help us to make an informed decision.

Regards
Marshall Eubanks
(acting for the IAOC)
Rahul Aggarwal
2009-09-18 19:19:59 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ross,
Same here.
Post by Ross Callon
I think that this is not acceptable and we should not sign it.
Agreed.
Post by Ross Callon
I understand that no location is perfect. However, I think that this goes well beyond what
we normally put up with and well beyond what we should put up with.
The first is the risk to the IETF. I understand that the likelihood of anything happening
as a result of this is very low. However, the IETF is a very unruly and
opinionated group, and is probably more unruly than other groups that
have recently met in China (or anywhere else). We have little idea what
IETF attendees will do either in spite of or even because of this
restriction. It would not be surprising to have some sort of major
dust-up at the IESG plenary over this issue, and we don't know how the
host country officials would react to this. Also, while the risk of the
meeting being stopped in the middle seems very low, if it did happen
this would be a very bad result for all concerned. If one IETF attendee were to be
booted out of the hosting country based on something that they said or
put on their slides or in a jabber room even that would be very bad.
Also, from a moral point of view I don't think that we should accept this. Freedom of
speech is a very basic freedom that is guaranteed in a wide range of
countries (although of course not all). The people who live there don't
have the ability to say "no" without serious consequences. We DO have
the ability to say no, and I think that we should.
I agree with that. This is basically about freedom of speech. It would be
ironical to host a meeting of the IETF, which stands for open Internet
standards, in a setting which limits open speech.

This is purely my personal opinion as well.

rahul
Post by Ross Callon
Again, this is just my personal opinion, and not the opinion of any
group nor organization 'that I might happen to be associated with.
thanks, Ross
-----Original Message-----
Sent: 18 September 2009 11:42
To: IETF Announcement list; IETF-Discussion list; Working Group Chairs
Subject: Request for community guidance on issue concerning a future meeting of the IETF
Greetings;
We have received numerous suggestions and requests for an IETF meeting
in China and the IAOC has been working on a potential China meeting for
several years. We are now close to making a decision on a potential
upcoming meeting in China. However, the following issue has arisen
and we would appreciate your feedback.
The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech. A fundamental law in China
requires that one not criticize the government. Practically, this
has reference to public political statements or protest marches, which
are not the IETF's custom. The government, which is a party to the
issue,
requires that people who attend conferences in China (the IETF being
but one example) not engage in political speech during their tour
in China. We consider this to be acceptable, on the basis that the
IETF intends to abide by the laws of whatever nations it visits and
we don't believe that this impacts our ability to do technical work.
The rule is implemented in the Hotel agreement and reads (note that
"Should the contents of the Group's activities, visual or audio
presentations at the conference,or printed materials used at the
conference (which are within the control of the Client) contain
any defamation against the Government of the People's Republic
of China, or show any disrespect to the Chinese culture, or
violates any laws of the People's Republic of China or feature
any topics regarding human rights or religion without prior
approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China,
the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot
and/or ask the person(s) who initiates or participates in any or
all of the above action to leave the hotel premises immediately.
The Client will support and assist the Hotel with the necessary
actions to handle such situations. Should there be any financial
loss incurred to the Hotel or damage caused to the Hotel's
reputation as a result of any or all of the above acts, the Hotel
will claim compensation from the Client."
What does this condition mean ? The hotel staff would have, in theory,
the legal right to shut down the meeting and ask the offending
participants to leave the property immediately. While we do not
foresee a situation where such action would take place, we feel that
it is proper to disclose these conditions to the community.
The members of the IAOC, speaking as individuals, do not like this
condition as a matter of principle. The IAOC does believe that this
condition would not prevent the IETF from conducting its business.
We note that the Vancouver/Quebec survey conducted earlier this year
asked for people to suggest venues in Asia; an overwhelming majority
(94%) of those who mentioned China were in favor of having a meeting
there.
We are therefore asking for input from the community by two means - by
commenting on the IETF discussion list, and also by completing a very
short survey on people's intentions to travel to China, or not,
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=h4DUkRUOdG_2bVLqioPcYYHw_3d_3d
All responses received by October 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM EDT (1300 UTC)
will be considered by the IAOC in making its decision. We appreciate
the assistance of the community in providing us with data that will
help us to make an informed decision.
Regards
Marshall Eubanks
(acting for the IAOC)
_______________________________________________
Ietf mailing list
https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/ietf
SM
2009-09-18 19:19:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Eubanks
The Chinese government has imposed a rule on all conferences held
since 2008 regarding political speech. A fundamental law in China
requires that one not criticize the government. Practically, this
As an IETF participant, I do not take any position on the above.
Post by Marshall Eubanks
has reference to public political statements or protest marches, which
are not the IETF's custom. The government, which is a party to the
issue,
It is in the custom of the IETF to follow local laws in respect to meetings.
Post by Marshall Eubanks
The rule is implemented in the Hotel agreement and reads (note that
"Should the contents of the Group's activities, visual or audio
presentations at the conference,or printed materials used at the
conference (which are within the control of the Client) contain
any defamation against the Government of the People's Republic
of China, or show any disrespect to the Chinese culture, or
violates any laws of the People's Republic of China or feature
any topics regarding human rights or religion without prior
approval from the Government of the People's Republic of China,
the Hotel reserves the right to terminate the event on the spot
and/or ask the person(s) who initiates or participates in any or
all of the above action to leave the hotel premises immediately.
The topics to be discussed at an IETF meeting are set by the IETF. I
am not aware of any practice that requires government approval of the
topics. I note that contributions are subject to the rules of RFC
5378 and RFC 3979 (updated by RFC 4879).
Post by Marshall Eubanks
The Client will support and assist the Hotel with the necessary
actions to handle such situations. Should there be any financial
loss incurred to the Hotel or damage caused to the Hotel's
reputation as a result of any or all of the above acts, the Hotel
will claim compensation from the Client."
That is a liability the IETF can live without.

I believe that it is an extremely bad idea for the IETF to accept the
rule implemented in the hotel agreement.

One of the requirements for an IETF meeting which most attendees care
about is Internet access. The only political restriction on that is
that network must not assign RFC 1918 IP addresses to users and that
there must not be any filtering which purports to "enhance the user
experience" or protect them.

Some IETF participants might be considered as being disrespectful
towards the "leadership". They can turn a meeting into a rowdy
party. If the above is implemented, there are risks, both internal
and external, of a public relations nightmare.

Regards,
-sm
Noel Chiappa
2009-09-18 18:54:30 UTC
Permalink
ONE of the reasons a meeting is being proposed in China is that the
IETF now has a significant number (and growing) of Chinese
participants
A meeting in China makes a certain amount of sense, but there are
inevitably going to be side-issues.
for reasons beyond our control, many of them are having difficulties
obtaining visas to visit the United States when we have IETF
meetings here.
Do they have any difficulty getting into Hong Kong?

Noel
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