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Chinese Producer of Netflix's 'The Three-Body Problem' Is Poisoned in Suspected Murder Attempt

Published by Slashdot on Tue, 18 Jun 2024

Lin Qi, chairman of China's Yoozoo Group and executive producer on Netflix's "The Three-Body Problem," is currently hospitalized in Shanghai following a suspected deliberate poisoning by colleague Xu Yao, who has been detained by police. Despite internal strife, Yoozoo reassured stakeholders that operations have returned to normal, with Lin in stable condition. Variety reports: Netflix announced in September that it will adapt all three books in the critically acclaimed "Three-Body Problem" sci-fi trilogy by Chinese writer Liu Cixin, with "Game of Thrones" creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with Alexander Woo, set to write and executive produce. The streamer bought the rights to adapt the series in English from video game developer Yoozoo, a Shenzhen-listed firm that acquired the rights itself in 2015, and is currently at work on other Chinese-language film and TV adaptations of its own. A male, 39-year-old patient surnamed Lin was "suspected of having been poisoned while receiving diagnosis and treatment at a hospital," the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said at 7pm local time Wednesday in a post on its official social media account. Police had received report of the incident last Thursday, Dec. 17. The statement continued: "After on-site surveys and investigations, it was discovered that Lin's colleague surnamed Xu (male, 39) was suspected of committing a major crime. At present, Xu has been criminally detained by the police in accordance with the law, and related investigations are being further carried out." The post did not tie the case directly to Yoozoo. Typical of such announcements in China, it also did not list either the victim or perpetrator's full name. Nevertheless, Chinese reports have tied the statement to 39-year-old Lin, who founded Yoozoo in 2009. Citing sources inside the firm, reports from outlets including respected financial publication Caixin identify the perpetrator as Yoozoo exec Xu Yao, 39. The University of Michigan Law School grad joined the company in 2017 and rose to become CEO of The Three-Body Universe, a branch of the broader group within its newer film production arm involved in managing and developing the "Three-Body" IP. In recent days, Chinese media had written in a more speculative fashion about in-fighting among Yoozoo executives that had led to a poisoning. Some reports allege that Lin was poisoned via an aged, prized varietal of fermented tea known as pu'er. Yoozoo Group's co-president Chen Fang has previously denied such claims on social media, saying that "there's no in-fighting -- rumors are the real poison," according to such reports. But after the public security bureau post gave new credibility to earlier speculation, Yoozoo on Wednesday issued a formal statement on the matter. "Although the company's management has recovered from the emergency situation last week and resumed normal operations, some friends are still uneasy and members of the public are curious" about the affair, it began. The series was in hit by a previous conflict a few months after its announcement, "after certain U.S. politicians questioned the company for choosing to adapt a work by Liu," notes Variety. "The author has previously expressed support for Chinese government policies in Xinjiang, a region where Beijing has forcibly jailed more than a million ethnic minority Uyghurs in detention camps."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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