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    Sci-Fi Ambitions Turn Deadly: How A Chinese Tycoon Got Murdered In Quest To Bring Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem’ To Global Stage

    In a plot worthy of its own sci-fi thriller, a Chinese businessman Lin Qi got killed by his own associate while trying to bring ‘The Three-Body Problem’ to global audiences. Lin, who was a huge fan of the acclaimed Chinese sci-fi trilogy, wanted to bring the story to the pop culture in the league of the legendary status of ‘Star Wars’. And though he has seemingly succeeded with the release of ‘3 Body Problem’ on Netflix, he isn’t alive anymore to see it.

    Qi was a wealthy businessman who saw massive success of his gaming company’s listing in 2014. Also an avid reader, Lin was a huge fan of ‘The Three-Body Problem’, a part of a trilogy by China’s most celebrated sci-fi author, Liu Cixin. He had turned his wish to turn the story into a worldwide phenomenon.

    Fast forward a decade, and the stage seemed set for his vision to become reality with a Netflix adaptation of the book drawing in millions of eager viewers. However, fate had a cruel twist in store. Lin’s journey was cut short as he was poisoned by one of his own executives, Xu Yao.

    Qi died at the age of 39, just months after Netflix announced its plans to produce the series in 2020. The murder sent shockwaves through China and gained limelight not just for the surprise element of betrayal, but also for how meticulously it was planned. As per reports, the associate poisoned Qi with a cocktail laced with deadly toxins.

    A Shanghai court sentenced Xu to death for murder on March 22, just a day after the release of the much-anticipated ‘3 Body Problem’ on Netflix. As the dust settled, details emerged of a power struggle between Lin and Qi – and it had a lot to do with ‘3 Body Problem’.

    Related: Chinese Media Accuses Netflix Show ‘3 Body Problem’ Of Promoting American “Cultural Hegemony”

    Why Did Lin Qi’s Executive Kill Him?

    Still from '3 Body Problem'
    Still from ‘3 Body Problem’

    According to Chinese media reports citing sources in the company, the feud that led to Lin’s murder revolved around his ambition to adapt ‘The Three-Body Problem’ into a show. Lin faced issues to fulfill his ambitions as the rights for adaptation of the books were held by a Chinese business couple since 2009.

    Lin initially had a collaboration with the said business couple to get a film adaptation of the book up and running. However, after the venture failed, Lin became even more determined to get the adaptation rights for himself.

    In 2017, Lin hired Xu, an established lawyer with a decade of experience working at a Chinese multinational conglomerate. Xu was successful at securing the adaptation rights for Lin the following year, and was consequently appointed to head The Three-Body Universe named the Yoozoo subsidiary.

    However, after Xu underperformed, Lin sidelined him and handed the key projects to another executive, Zhao Jilong. According to Caixin, Xu also attempted to kill Jilong by poisoning his drinks.

    After Netflix announced its adaptation project of ‘The Three-Body Problem’ in September 2020, Lin and Zhao were listed as executive producers. But Xu’s name was conspicuously missing. That is when the idea of killing may have been triggered in Xu’s mind.

    Ironically, Lin told an interviewer just a month before his death that the Three-Body project had the potential to be his life’s legacy. “It is said that your mind will be hit by a moment of extreme clarity when you are about to die… So I’m very afraid that what I’ll be thinking before I die is: How did I destroy ‘The Three-Body Problem?” Lin had said during the interview.

    Little did the businessman know that his ambition would become the reason for his death and steal almost six decades of his life that he supposedly had planned out.

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    Aishwarya is a Senior Sub-Editor at First Curiosity. Working as a news writer for over 3 years, she has written on an array of things for a couple of media houses in different capacities. With writing as her outlet, she is now exploring the world of art and glamour. She has previously been associated with ETV Bharat and India Today as part of national editorial teams. With a fair share of work done covering national and international issues, she is now navigating through her abilities in the field of films and art. A movie and TV show buff, Aishwarya at First Curiosity tries to bring forth what a layman's eye might easily miss out on. Her flair for words and ability to convey what's between the lines are her biggest strengths. Her love for films and writing stems from her fondness for words and all things artsy. An avid reader and writer alike, Aishwarya likes to delve into any and all forms of art. When not tapping on her keyboard churning out articles, she can be found staring at books or screens, trying to find stories that'll help her explore the world and its portrayal through art better.


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