2009-09-18 15:42:00 UTC
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
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
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 :
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.
(acting for the IAOC)