Republican Senators Challenge Netflix Over Chinese Sci-Fi Adaptation

Five Republican senators have sent a letter to Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos, challenging the streamer’s decision to adapt “The Three-Body Problem,” a Chinese sci-fi trilogy.

The senators, led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, argue that the author of the trilogy, Liu Cixin, made disparaging remarks about Uyghur Muslims in an interview last year, and defended the Chinese government’s internment camps in Xinjiang.

“We have significant concerns with Netflix’s decision to do business with an individual who is parroting dangerous CCP propaganda,” the senators wrote. “In the face of such atrocities in (Xinjiang), there no longer exist corporate decisions of complacency, only complicity.”

They ask that Netflix “seriously reconsider” giving Liu a platform.

In the interview with the New Yorker, Liu brushed back the interviewer’s questions about the camps in Xinjiang.

“Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks?” he said. “If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty.”

Liu also defended the Chinese system of government, saying that democratization would lead to chaos, and said that Westerners could not truly understand.

“If China were to transform into a democracy, it would be hell on earth,” he said in the interview.

In a press statement, Blackburn’s office acknowledged that Liu’s trilogy “vividly documents the plight of struggling artists and the alienation to which they were subjected.”

“Despite the sympathy he appears to have for the characters in his book, he does not extend that same feeling to the minority in his own country,” the office said in a release. “Either Liu is an apologist for crimes against Uyghurs or he is caving to the CCP’s doctrine.”

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The letter asks whether Sarandos agrees that the internment of Uyghurs is “unacceptable,” and asks what steps Netflix will take in the adaptation “to avoid any further glorification of the CCP’s actions against the Uyghurs.”

Netflix has also come under fire from conservatives in recent weeks over “Cuties,” a French film that deals with the sexualization of young girls.

More from Variety

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.