The scene from the Netflix series “The 3-Body Problem” that sparked debate about Chinese history and US politics

The new Netflix series “The 3 Body Problem” isn't really about China's Cultural Revolution or the US culture wars. The sci-fi epic, adapted from Liu Cixin's award-winning novel, is more concerned with the big theoretical questions, such as how humanity might respond to an impending alien invasion.

The problem of the 3 bodies (“3 Body Problem”) PHOTO Youtube capture

But that didn't stop viewers from drawing parallels between the brutal period of Chinese history depicted at the beginning of the series and American politics today, CNN notes.

“The 3-Body Problem,” produced by “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and DB Weiss, along with Alexander Woo, opens with a harrowing scene set in Mao Zedong's China in 1966. A physics teacher accused of teaching counter-revolutionary concepts, is brought on stage in front of an angry mob and beaten to death.

Such incidents, in which “class enemies” were publicly humiliated and tortured, were common occurrences throughout the decade-long Cultural Revolution. Thus, an attempt was made to silence Mao's opposition until his death in 1976.

The first season of the series, whose eight episodes hit Netflix on March 21, debuted at no. 2, with the first 10 episodes. Later, he climbed to first place. Although the new seasons have not been confirmed yet, the producers are said to be planning for the story to unfold over four seasons.

The scene that caused the strongest reactions

Despite the scale the show's run has taken, the first scene seems to have sparked the strongest reactions. As US audiences saw it as highly charged, it also sparked controversy and debate in China.

I just watched the opening scene of Netflix's “3 Body Problem,” which features a lynching during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and it's eerily similar to where we're headed with social awareness: no freedom of speech or thought, to obey the party line or be eliminated, don't even think about a counter-revolution”wrote a user on X.

The scene of the Cultural Revolution demonstrates what is happening. Learn history or be damned”, was the opinion of another person, on the same social network.

But while some conservatives heralded the scene as a metaphor for supposed left-wing authoritarianism, some liberals and progressives came to an entirely different conclusion.

To understand what the right is doing, I suggest you watch the opening of the Netflix series, 3 Body Problem”one user responded to a conservative post on X: “The scene of the Cultural Revolution demonstrates what it happens. Banning books from schools and libraries that do not conform to their way of thinking. Then shout “Liberty”.

Although the story is rooted in a very real moment in Chinese history, the Cultural Revolution is merely the catalyst for a character's loss of faith in humanity. Disgusted and disillusioned, she makes a decision that puts the entire planet at risk.

“The 3 Body Problem” moves quickly from the Cultural Revolution to the ripple effects of that dangerous decision, raising profound questions like: How do we respond to an existential threat? What role will technology play? And how strong is our resolve to survive?