Welcome to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, whose official motto is Độc lập – Tự do – Hạnh phúc ( Independence, Freedom, Happiness).
After 30 years (1945-1975) of wars against the French and Americans, 4 millions lives were lost for the above ideals, which still remain empty words to Vietnamese. There is not even any rule of law.
Vietnamese communists continue to suppress any burgeoning aspiration for freedom or patriotism. Artists have landed in jail for writing songs that the regime does not like.
Viet Khang (born Vo Minh Tri), a songwriter jailed for expressing his patriotic feelings and calling on the civic duty of fellow Vietnamese. He was arrested and is currently detained without charges on December 23rd, 2011.
He co-founded Patriotic Youth, a loose network of college students, young professionals and young artists, to promote public consciousness about social justice and civic engagement. Some members created blogs and websites to advocate for the respect of human rights, freedom, and free elections. Others passed out fliers calling for democratic reforms and the defense of Vietnam’s sovereignty against China’s expansionism. Viet Khang wrote two songs that spread virally through the internet.
His song “Who are you?” questions the conscience of public security police members who brutally assaulted, arrested and detained demonstrators for peacefully expressing concern over China’s territorial ambitions.
In “Where is my Viet Nam?”, Viet Khang confesses disillusionment with a regime that pays little attention to the spreading social injustices, decries the leadership’s lack of resolve to defend the country’s sovereignty, and calls on citizens to assume responsibility for Vietnam’s future. He personally performed both songs and posted them on the internet.
Soon after their posting, he and two other members of Patriotic Youth were arrested: Tran Vu Anh Binh, also a songwriter, and Nguyen Thien Thanh, a college student. These arrests constitute a blatant violation of human rights and freedom of expression.