Author Topic: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?  (Read 2331 times)  

Offline MMSN

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Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
« on: September 27, 2020, 03:47:14 pm »
Liu Cixin wrote a novel that Netflix is going to turn into a Game-of-Thrones-type megaproject. However, Liu Cixin is Chinese and he recently said this about China's mass incarceration of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang:

"Would you rather that they [the Muslims] be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks? 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."

Calls have come for Netflix to cancel the production.

Personally I am against political censorship in most any form, whether it's against the right or the left. However, I do realize there IS a hard-learned [from World War II Germany] moral line in the West that cannot be crossed. A put-'em-in-concentration-camps mentality crosses the line for me. I think Netflix should cancel the project.

What do you think?

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/25/netflix-liu-cixin-adaptation-uighur-comments-the-three-body-problem



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    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #1 on: September 27, 2020, 04:00:12 pm »
    Well, Disney didn't cancel Mulan after the Chinese actress starring in it came out in opposition to the democracy protestors in Hong Kong, so I guess no one cares what China does.

    Online Crystal_

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #2 on: September 27, 2020, 05:57:04 pm »
    It's not censorship for a private company to cancel or not show a project. It's only censorship if the government forces them to bury a project.

    This is a company bowing to PR/customer demand (or not bowing. Which is the outcome I'd expect if Netflix hopes to grow their standing in the Chinese market). It's not censorship.

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #3 on: September 27, 2020, 06:54:13 pm »
    My opinion is a line gets crossed when it is "hate" and the quotes clearly are "hate".

    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #4 on: September 27, 2020, 10:24:34 pm »
    I'm sort of torn on this. When the creative work in question has an implicitly or explicitly despicable message I think networks, publishers etc should avoid it. But (having not read them) I don't think The Three Body project books contain anything particularly pro-CCP, pro-dictatorship or pro-genocide. And I'm not surprised that a high-profile Chinese citizen would parrot the party line whatever his personal views might actually be. So it becomes more of a question of whether you think somebody with gross viewpoints deserves to profit from their work, which is more of a boycott thing, and for me (your mileage may vary) would mean I would never read a JK Rowling book, watch a James Woods film etc.

    I do think the US entertainment industry's coveting of the huge Chinese market is leading it down a very uncomfortable path. It started out with harmless but cringey stuff to appease a country that feels like it's always been ignored (I remember the first film I saw that shoehorned in a China reference - the Bruce Willis time travel movie Looper - and after that it feels like it was in virtually every big budget blockbuster: 2012, Gravity, Arrival) and has now progressed onto self-censorship like the Top Gun remake patch removal debacle, removing a Tibetan character from a Marvel film, and the really problematic stuff, as mentioned above, of actively cooperating with a state security agency to film Mulan in Xinjiang.

    edit - realised Rick was only referring to the Mulan star's comments; the really problematic issue in my view is that Disney sought the help of (and thanks in the credits) the same state agency which is actively herding Uighurs into concentration camps: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-54064654
    « Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 10:26:39 pm by ShaneCarrow »

    Shane Carrow

    Offline Karen Monroe

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #5 on: September 27, 2020, 10:38:44 pm »
    My opinion is a line gets crossed when it is "hate" and the quotes clearly are "hate".

    Exactly.

    Offline TSDwrites

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #6 on: September 27, 2020, 10:54:25 pm »
    He can have his own opinion. I dont see US authors being cancelled because of Guantanamo or the genocide against natives (romanticized in Westerns).

    Offline Corvid

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #7 on: September 27, 2020, 10:57:27 pm »
    He can have his own opinion. I dont see US authors being cancelled because of Guantanamo or the genocide against natives (romanticized in Westerns).

    Yeah, concentration camps are obviously awful, but the idea of cancelling or boycotting any/everything from countries that cross the line of morality starts getting into the area of 'glass houses' pretty quick.


    Offline H.C.

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #8 on: September 28, 2020, 12:33:31 am »
    Liu Cixin wrote a novel that Netflix is going to turn into a Game-of-Thrones-type megaproject. However, Liu Cixin is Chinese and he recently said this about China's mass incarceration of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang:

    "Would you rather that they [the Muslims] be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks? 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."

    Calls have come for Netflix to cancel the production.

    Personally I am against political censorship in most any form, whether it's against the right or the left. However, I do realize there IS a hard-learned [from World War II Germany] moral line in the West that cannot be crossed. A put-'em-in-concentration-camps mentality crosses the line for me. I think Netflix should cancel the project.

    What do you think?

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/25/netflix-liu-cixin-adaptation-uighur-comments-the-three-body-problem

    It's a complex issue.

    I live in China and the media is state-controlled. The things he said are the same things many Chinese people on the street would say if pushed on this issue (if they even knew anything about it at all). China has taken the western idea of "security" and "development" to talk about any issue problematic to the party. Whether it's Xinjiang, HK, Tibet, etc. They will always try to market it as a safety issue. "These people are not like us--good Han--they are violent and barbaric".

    Also, China had a "patriotic education" system. The courses are desgined first and foremost to create legitimacy for the party and to create nationalists, so whil Liu Cixin's statements are wildly wrong are they really much different than the average American or Brit who shrugs his shoulders at the hell on Earth we've created in the Middle East?

    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #9 on: September 28, 2020, 02:33:29 am »
    whil Liu Cixin's statements are wildly wrong are they really much different than the average American or Brit who shrugs his shoulders at the hell on Earth we've created in the Middle East?

    I would argue yes, because it's a matter of foreign policy vs domestic policy. It's the equivalent of if the US was herding Native Americans into camps en masse, demolishing their places of worship, attempting to stamp out their languages etc.

    Shane Carrow

    Offline Corvid

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #10 on: September 28, 2020, 03:21:02 am »
    I would argue yes, because it's a matter of foreign policy vs domestic policy. It's the equivalent of if the US was herding Native Americans into camps en masse, demolishing their places of worship, attempting to stamp out their languages etc.

    Again, I don't think we ought to be using measuring sticks for morality when determining whose country ought to have its projects cancelled or boycotted as if it's a contest, because by that criteria, no one ought to consume anything. There are no winners in this game.

    For as bad as China's actions with regard to those camps appear to be, one could easily point to forced sterilizations in U.S. ICE facilities, and just as 'rightfully' conclude all American-based content be blacklisted. And, that's just one immorality from an entire litany to choose from.

    And, the US was herding Indigenous Peoples into camps en masse, demolishing their places of worship, and did attempt to stamp out their languages. It just so happens to not be occurring to the same degree in the here and now, but do we hold there's a statute of limitations for these things when it comes to ferreting out whether or not art/artists from that nation ought to be consumed in response to what has occurred?

    That's the thing, you'll find no end to human depravity, state-sponsored human depravity in fact, the world over going back decades and centuries. If you want to find reasons to cancel or boycott pretty much anything from anywhere, it's all right there, ripe for the picking.

    The list of atrocities worldwide leaves practically every nation with blood on its hands. Then it becomes a matter of using a measuring stick to determine which country's artists are worthy of having their works adapted or not. And, we're going to do this based on how said artists view a given issue through the prism of perceptions shaped by their state's own media? No thanks.

    There isn't an artist alive on this planet who isn't living in the national equivalent of a glass house. Cixin may be on the wrong side of history, but if that's your criteria for whose art and which artists remain 'valid', the list of books, films, and shows you'll be left with wouldn't fill a thimble.


    Offline CatParker

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #11 on: September 28, 2020, 05:15:15 am »
    Cancel him without a second thought. His world view is abhorrent.


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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #12 on: September 28, 2020, 06:54:27 am »
    I imagine that Netflix will quietly drop this project in the next couple of months. It's not like there's a dearth of genre IPs to option.

    Francis Morrow

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #13 on: September 28, 2020, 07:11:24 am »
    His world view is that genocide is okay is beyond the barrier. It is pure hate speech.

    I don't think anyone would miss his works.

    Mark

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #14 on: September 28, 2020, 08:09:51 am »
    Well, there are many in America saying the same sort of things, and worse. Where do we stop? It's like Germans talking about the death penalty here, to which I reply, Holocaust. Every country is as bad as the next, every person has their own opinion, no matter how abhorrent. They need to be stopped when they act upon it, or when they incite others to do so, but until then, they say what they please.

    And, this isn't really a topic about self publishing, which is the main focus here.

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #15 on: September 28, 2020, 08:23:56 am »
    Of course this is a self-publishing topic. the guy is a writer!

    People can go ahead and publish his works BUT EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT to shout them down and point the finger of racism and hate at him. You cannot claim censorship and then  censor the backlash.

    Mark

    Offline Wonder`

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #16 on: September 28, 2020, 11:44:09 am »
    I read The Three Body Problem a while back and I enjoyed it. And I'm aware that that Mr. Cixin can't criticize his government publicly without being thrown into prison or getting an angry visit from some government official. That being said, his comments were actively supportive of Muslim concentration camps, so personally, I'm done with him.

    No nation is free from injustice, that's true. But if an American author was all like "Yes, I'm a big fan of the USA's worst atrocities," I wouldn't read them either.

    I don't judge Liu Cixin by the sins of his nation any more than I would judge my neighbor for the worst things my country has done. But I can listen to the words coming out of Mr. Cixin's mouth and say, "Yeah. I'm not going to shrug and hand over money and attention to someone who supports mass imprisonment of a religious minority."

    I'm grateful to live in a place where I can exercise my freedom of speech, choice, and association.

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    Offline David VanDyke

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #17 on: September 28, 2020, 12:17:41 pm »
    He can have his own opinion. I dont see US authors being cancelled because of Guantanamo or the genocide against natives (romanticized in Westerns).

    That's apples and oranges. Nobody's saying someone should be boycotted because their nation has done evil things. Nearly everyone's nation has.

    They question is whether individual artists or their publishers/associated companies should be boycotted or other actions taken because they expressed evil opinions or opinions in support of clearly evil actions.


    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #18 on: September 28, 2020, 01:07:02 pm »
    This isn't government censorship, true, but what some people are concerned about these days is self censorship, which is just as friendly with fascism. It's the more subtle evil.

    I support individuals standing up and speaking up for what they believe is right.

    I don't support cancelling people, even people with views I find repulsive. From what I've witnessed, cancelling alienates open discussion, debate, and personal growth. Targeting someone's job, family, and colleagues in order to punish and scare them into future silence isn't winning minds and hearts.

    Instead, I'm thoughtful about who and what I support with my time, words, and money.

    Offline TSDwrites

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #19 on: September 28, 2020, 01:09:56 pm »
    That's apples and oranges. Nobody's saying someone should be boycotted because their nation has done evil things. Nearly everyone's nation has.

    They question is whether individual artists or their publishers/associated companies should be boycotted or other actions taken because they expressed evil opinions or opinions in support of clearly evil actions.

    Ok, so lets start with you.
    Do you believe the US should shut down Guantanamo and release all captives as free individuals on US soil?

    (I dont want to talk political but im making a point. If you go to anyone and ask them a political question you are going to get fallout any which way. Are we going to censor Kipling because of his views on colonialism?)
    « Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 01:16:26 pm by TSDwrites »

    Offline Corvid

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #20 on: September 28, 2020, 01:28:14 pm »
    People, and especially in this thread, seem all too trigger-happy to me. Clearly, concentration camps are an awful thing that ought not to exist. And, certainly, expressing an opinion in favor of them isn't a positive. But, can we get away from this notion of black-or-white, and understand that human beings exist as shades of gray? Meaning, can we admit that people are not all one thing, and therefore could be reachable, and that maybe it's not a positive thing to teach the rest of society that we just cut you off at the knees should you step out of line with how the rest of us are thinking?

    Maybe instead of just REACTING and declaring the death penalty outright (something we love to accuse other regimes of doing, by the way, including China) we could have a conversation that winds up educating, and shining a light into places where it ought to be shone. And, sometimes you can even reach otherwise thoughtful people, and you can change hearts and minds. Cixin's complex story cannot exist without an amount of empathy and sensitivity on the part of the writer. There's something there to work with, if it turns out not with the author, then as something instructive for future generations.

    Sure, you could sweep The Three Body Problem adaptation under the rug, or hide it in the closet. Or, you could go ahead with it and encourage discussions around anyone's problematic statements - Cixin's included, and especially - regarding its country of origin or regarding opinions from any creator you find troublesome. There's an opportunity to educate here that can pay dividends down the road.

    Instead of putting our collective heads in the sand or throwing things down the memory hole, maybe the most teachable and positive thing for the world would be to allow it all out into the open and use it to foster a better understanding, and therefore a better way of reaching people and curbing these atrocities we're talking about before they can even gain a foothold.

    All of this other outright castigation talk sounds a lot like how the regime in China would handle the situation were the shoe on the other foot. Is that mentality one we should be trying to emulate?


    Offline ........

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #21 on: September 28, 2020, 04:52:21 pm »
    It's not censorship for a private company to cancel or not show a project. It's only censorship if the government forces them to bury a project.

    This is a company bowing to PR/customer demand (or not bowing. Which is the outcome I'd expect if Netflix hopes to grow their standing in the Chinese market). It's not censorship.

    Increasingly this is a distinction without a difference. Paypal/Visa/Mastercard ban you and you cannot exist in the modern world. Those private companies due to market concentration can wipe out anyone and effectively ban their speech. Private entities like Facebook and Twitter have similar powers, as does Google.

    It's like the argument about when is a business a monopoly, and it is based on many factors. Whether something is censorship is going to need redefinition. Banking services refusing to serve can be censorship.

    It's also worth remembering that business only exists because we allow it to. They exist because we grant them their existence. When their existence threatens a free society or causes significant problems, we can extinguish them with a snap of our fingers. You want to mine asbestos? Bad luck, you don't get to exist.

    Financial services, although massive, still only exist because we allow them to. If they go about banning people and this produces the effect of censorship then it's censorship.

    Something like Netflix dropping an author isn't censorship because they're not big enough. There are other players and so on.

    Banks deciding to bar financial services is censorship, even if done by a private business.


    Offline MMSN

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #22 on: September 28, 2020, 05:29:27 pm »
    People, and especially in this thread, seem all too trigger-happy to me. Clearly, concentration camps are an awful thing that ought not to exist. And, certainly, expressing an opinion in favor of them isn't a positive. But, can we get away from this notion of black-or-white, and understand that human beings exist as shades of gray? Meaning, can we admit that people are not all one thing, and therefore could be reachable, and that maybe it's not a positive thing to teach the rest of society that we just cut you off at the knees should you step out of line with how the rest of us are thinking?

    Maybe instead of just REACTING and declaring the death penalty outright (something we love to accuse other regimes of doing, by the way, including China) we could have a conversation that winds up educating, and shining a light into places where it ought to be shone. And, sometimes you can even reach otherwise thoughtful people, and you can change hearts and minds. Cixin's complex story cannot exist without an amount of empathy and sensitivity on the part of the writer. There's something there to work with, if it turns out not with the author, then as something instructive for future generations.

    Sure, you could sweep The Three Body Problem adaptation under the rug, or hide it in the closet. Or, you could go ahead with it and encourage discussions around anyone's problematic statements - Cixin's included, and especially - regarding its country of origin or regarding opinions from any creator you find troublesome. There's an opportunity to educate here that can pay dividends down the road.

    Instead of putting our collective heads in the sand or throwing things down the memory hole, maybe the most teachable and positive thing for the world would be to allow it all out into the open and use it to foster a better understanding, and therefore a better way of reaching people and curbing these atrocities we're talking about before they can even gain a foothold.

    All of this other outright castigation talk sounds a lot like how the regime in China would handle the situation were the shoe on the other foot. Is that mentality one we should be trying to emulate?

    This approach wasn't too effective with the Nazis when they were doing it, took more of a cut-'em-off-at-the-knees response.

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #23 on: September 28, 2020, 05:36:32 pm »
    if you  believe cancelling the show is censorship, than a boycott of his books should be okay ....boycotting is also a freedom of expression.

    He is trying to impose his twisted world view on others...and my defintion of twisted...is anyone who thinks the eradicated of a "people" is justified.

    Mark

    Online Crystal_

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    Re: Should author Liu Cixin be cancelled?
    « Reply #24 on: September 28, 2020, 09:52:27 pm »
    Increasingly this is a distinction without a difference. Paypal/Visa/Mastercard ban you and you cannot exist in the modern world. Those private companies due to market concentration can wipe out anyone and effectively ban their speech. Private entities like Facebook and Twitter have similar powers, as does Google.

    It's like the argument about when is a business a monopoly, and it is based on many factors. Whether something is censorship is going to need redefinition. Banking services refusing to serve can be censorship.

    It's also worth remembering that business only exists because we allow it to. They exist because we grant them their existence. When their existence threatens a free society or causes significant problems, we can extinguish them with a snap of our fingers. You want to mine asbestos? Bad luck, you don't get to exist.

    Financial services, although massive, still only exist because we allow them to. If they go about banning people and this produces the effect of censorship then it's censorship.

    Something like Netflix dropping an author isn't censorship because they're not big enough. There are other players and so on.

    Banks deciding to bar financial services is censorship, even if done by a private business.

    It's true that corporations increasingly have more power over the information that people see. But there isn't a single company that could censor an idea or speech the way a government could.

    Yes, a lot of people are on Facebook. A lot of people wouldn't see something if FB censored it. But they could go on Twitter or SnapChat or wherever people go now.

    Mastercard and Visa are separate companies the last time I checked. So they would need to act in concert (along with a handful of other CC companies) to "cancel" someone.

    If there is a true media/information monopoly, then that company does have de factor power to censor. But that still isn't the case. (And we are still talking about companies making decisions based on profits, not based on limiting speech).

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