Colleague of Murdered ‘Three-Body Problem’ Producer Is Sentenced to Death as Netflix Series Airs
Xu Wei
DATE:  Mar 22 2024
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Colleague of Murdered ‘Three-Body Problem’ Producer Is Sentenced to Death as Netflix Series Airs Colleague of Murdered ‘Three-Body Problem’ Producer Is Sentenced to Death as Netflix Series Airs

(Yicai) March 22 -- The former chief executive officer of a unit of Yoozoo Interactive, which used to own the rights to ‘The Three-Body Problem,’ has been found guilty of poisoning the Chinese gaming firm's chairman on the same week that the Netflix version of one of China’s most successful sci-fi novels began to broadcast.

Xu Yao, who joined Yoozoo Pictures in 2017, was sentenced to death for intentional homicide and handed an additional six-year sentence for administering dangerous substances, the Shanghai Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said today in a first-instance verdict. Xu has also been deprived of his political rights for life.

The trouble started soon after Netflix linked arms with Yoozoo Interactive, whose other subsidiary Three-Body Universe had bought the rights to Chinese science fiction novelist Liu Cixin’s trilogy, to produce an English-language version of ‘The Three-Body Problem’ in September 2020.

Xu, who had resigned from the firm in January 2019, had a disagreement with Lin, a hugely successful and ambitious film and game producer, over company matters and deliberately poisoned his food around Dec. 14 or Dec. 15, 2020, the court said.

Xu also had a conflict with two other colleagues, both surnamed Zhao, and he poisoned them as well between September and December 2020, but not fatally.

Lin fell ill on Dec. 16, 2020 and was told by doctors that he had been poisoned, according to earlier statements from the Shanghai-based company. The next day Lin called the police who conducted an investigation and detained Xu. Lin passed away 10 days later.

After Lin’s death, Yoozoo Interactive lost the copyright to ‘The Three Body Problem.’ A company called Chengdu Siyuan Enterprise Management bought up as much as 70 percent equity in Three-Body Universe, ousting Yoozoo Interactive as the majority stakeholder, The Paper reported in February last year, citing an insider at the Three-Body Universe.

Published in 2008, 'The Three-Body Problem' became one of China's most successful sci-fi novels. The second and third books of the series were released in 2008 and 2010, respectively. The trilogy focuses on humans making contact with an alien civilization, the exchange between them, subsequent war, the invasion of Earth, and the rise and fall of the two.

In 2015, Ken Liu's English translation won the Hugo Award, a literary prize for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy, helping the book gain a global following.

Editor: Kim Taylor

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Keywords:   Yoozoo Interactive,The Three-Body Problem,Xu Yao