Entertainment companies are treading a fine line with China. They want some of that sweet Chinese money, but that means kowtowing to a vicious totalitarian dictatorship that imprisons dissidents and makes people disappear. One that is, ultimately, responsible for a global pandemic and has been making aggressive land grabs across Asia. While getting on their knees and taking it in the face for a few Chinese Renminbi, Hollywood then lectures you on how to live your life. Ballsy!
Hollywood is starting to get called out on this. Already the US Military has said it will withold support and equipment from any movie or production that edits content in anyway to appease Chinese censors. Ted Cruz is sponsoring an act to withhold Federal funding from any production that does the same.
Now Netflix is in the crosshairs of five US Senators. The streamer is working on an adaption of Chinese author Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem. This deals with humanity’s first contact with an alien civilization and was being spun-up by former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss under their new deal at Netflix.
They have written a letter claiming that Liu has been delivering Communist Party approved talking points and propaganda regarding the government sanctioned atrocities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Disney also got into trouble for filming Mulan in this area.
In the letter sent directly to Netflix boss Ted Sarandos they say:
“…the decision to produce an adaptation of Mr. Liu’s work can be viewed as such normalization [for the crimes going on there].”
Liu himself admitted there is no other option in an interview with the New Yorker in 2019 and the letter points to this, saying:
“…there no longer exist corporate decisions of complacency, only complicity.”
Liu is also the author of the short story upon which The Wandering Earth was based. This was one of China’s biggest ever movies and was streamed in the West by Netflix.