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China's Three-Body Problem 2024-03-27 16:16:34

Amidst China's intensifying social involution and geopolitical tensions, the inaugural season of "3 Body Problem" on Netflix has reportedly aroused immense interest among millions of Chinese sci-fi fans.


The original story begins with Ye Wenjie, a promising young physicist whose father has died a violent death as a victim of the Cultural Revolution. This tragic event erodes her faith in humanity, driving her toward a pivotal decision that exposes Earth to a menacing alien civilization. It's a striking irony, showcasing Maoism's legacy in a Netflix sci-fi series. By contrast, the Chinese Tencent version sidesteps all such themes, playing safe under Xi Jinping's regime. No wonder some Weibo satirists say that the truth is always out there, not here (in China).

In a 2014 Wall Street Journal interview, Liu Cixin explained why he decided to unfold his novel "The Three-Body Problem" with the Cultural Revolution. According to him, the Maoist upheaval, like the Nazi Holocaust, could feasibly induce the necessary level of nihilism demanded by the plot.

Speaking of nihilism, I would like to bring up Ivan S. Turgenev's novel "Fathers and Sons." In it, the true protagonist is Bazarov, who claims that nihilism is about negation. Unabashedly, the proud Russian nihilist just wants to destroy everything and start again. He has no positive alternative to offer because there's none in his head.

Regrettably, present-day China remains fertile ground for nihilism.


Author: renqiulan


 

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