Netflix shot down criticisms from Republican senators over its upcoming adaptation of The Three-Body Problem, by Chinese author Cixin Liu. A group of lawmakers sent an open letter to Netflix on Wednesday, pointing out that Liu has defended the Chinese government's internment of Uyghur Muslims in the past, and suggesting that this will reflect on the new show. While Netflix disagrees with Liu, the company still feels his groundbreaking story is worth telling.
Five Senate Republicans sent Netflix a letter on Thursday, pointing out a 2019 interview with The New Yorker where Liu defended the Chinese government's internment camps for Uyghur Muslims. They warned that Netflix would be "normalizing" this crime by partnering with Liu. However, Netflix's vice president of public policy, Dean Garfield, responded on Friday, saying: "Mr. Liu is the author of the books, not the creator of this series," according to a report by Variety.
"Mr. Liu's comments are not reflective of the views of Netflix, or the show's creators, nor are they part of the plot or themes of the show," Garfield went on. He later added that Netflix "does not agree with [Liu's] comments" and that his views are "entirely unrelated to the book or this Netflix show."
Liu has become a global sensation for science fiction trilogy Remembrance of Earth's Past, often referred to by the title of the first book, The Three-Body Problem. Earlier this month, Netflix announced that it was adapting these books into a TV series, with the help of former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. This announcement raised a controversy of its own since Benioff and Weiss were blamed for the unpopular ending of Game of Thrones by fans.
Liu will serve as a consulting producer on the TV series, along with author Ken Liu, who translated the books into English. Meanwhile, Benioff and Weiss will be joined by executive producers Lin Qi, Alexander Woo, Bernadette Caulfield and actress Rosamund Pike. Star Wars director Rian Johnson will serve as a producer as well.
The Three-Body Problem begins during the Chinese Cultural Revolution but rarely touches on contemporary politics beyond that, instead ranging into the far-flung future. Some fans, such as those on Reddit, speculate that Liu speaks out favorably about the Chinese government when asked to ensure the safety of himself and his family, but that these comments do not reflect his true feelings. This aspect has never been confirmed or hinted at in any official capacity.
So far, no production information or release date has been released about Netflix's Three-Body Problem adaptation. All three volumes of the book trilogy are available in print, eBook and audiobook formats wherever books are sold.