Several US senators wrote to streaming giant Netflix to drop its project of adapting a book written by a Chinese author. They reasoned out the author’s position of siding with the Chinese government on the issue of “re-education camps” for Uighurs.
The Author’s Comment
On Wednesday last week, five Republican senators sent a letter to Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. The message pertains to the streaming giant’s plan to adapt the book “The Three-Body Problem,” written by Liu Cixin, into a live-action series.
U.S. senators urged Netflix to drop a planned Chinese sci-fi series based on a book trilogy, citing its author’s defense of the Chinese government's treatment of Uighur Muslims https://t.co/4tYbU6kopx pic.twitter.com/X8BMF64kes
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 25, 2020
The senators pointed out Liu’s previous interview from last year with the New Yorker. In the letter, they argued that Liu “parroted [Chinese Communist Part] talking points,” which accuses Uyghurs of being terrorists.
Moreover, the senators quoted him, saying: “If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty… If you were to loosen up the country a bit, the consequences would be terrifying.”
The senators also pointed out how the Chinese authorities treat the locals of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). In the letter, they listed out the “atrocities,” which include mass imprisonment and though transformation to denounce religion and culture, among others.
Several rights organizations called out the Chinese government’s treatment to the Uighurs. Meanwhile, authorities maintained that they do not set up internment camps in Xinjiang. In defense, officials said the facilities are vocational and educational institutions, calling criticisms as efforts against China.
Further in the letter, the senators asked Netflix to answer their questions. Among their concerns include whether the company knew Liu’s previous statements when they agreed to adapt his work.
Previously, another entertainment behemoth, Disney, received criticisms over its debut of the live-action “Mulan” for crediting Xinjiang authorities. Part of the movie was shot there.
Netflix earlier announced that it will adapt the Hugo award-recipient book along with its two other sequels. Furthermore, the company tapped the creators of the immensely popular “Game of Thrones,” DB Weiss and David Benioff, to lead the project. Additionally, Alexander Woo will join as a writer. Meanwhile, the author, Liu, will serve as a consulting producer.
The letter, led by Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, also noted that several American companies continue to normalize such crimes towards the Xinjiang locals. “The decision to produce an adaptation of Mr. Liu’s work can be viewed as such normalization.”
In response, Netflix said that Liu’s comments do not reflect its and the show developers’ views. Moreover, the company added that Liu’s remarks remain independent of the project’s theme and plot.