Five US Republican senators have asked Netflix to reconsider its decision to adapt and stream “The Three-Body Problem,” the famous sci-fi trilogy by Chinese author Liu Cixin, due to statements he made on China’s Uighur minority.
The senators, led by Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), expressed concern, in a letter dated 24 September to Netflix Joint CEO Ted Sarandos, about Liu’s statements and the fact that Netflix had taken him on as a consultant for the project.
However, Netflix said it did not share the authors’ views. It stressed, in a letter sent on Friday to the U.S. Senate and published by various U.S. media, that neither the book nor the series bore any relation to Liu’s statements, made in an interview published in June in The New Yorker magazine.
Asked about the fate of the Uighur Muslim minority, targeted by mass detentions in internment camps in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Liu Cixin had defended the Chinese authorities.
“Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks?” he responded. “If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying the lift them out of poverty … If you were to loosen up the country a bit, the consequences would be terrifying.”
The US senators accused the author of repeating the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) version of events in Xinjiang.
“We have significant concerns with Netflix’s decision to do business with an individual who is parroting dangerous CCP propaganda in the face of such atrocities in XUAR,” wrote the letter’s signatories, who also included Rick Scott (Florida), Kevin Cramer (North Dakota), Thom Tillis (North Carolina) and Martha McSally (Arizona).
However, Netflix Vice-President for Public Policy Dean Garfield said Liu was the author of the book and not the creator of the series.
“We do not agree with his comments, which are entirely unrelated to his book or this Netflix show,” Garfield said in a letter published on Friday by the Variety specialised site. He also recalled that Netflix had no activities in China.
The project to adapt “The three-Body Problem” into a televised series was revealed in early September and promises to be a very ambitious one, with Netflix recruiting “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, on hefty contracts.