Archive for the Free Viet Khang Category

Viet Khang’s Verdict

Posted in Current Events, Editor's Note, Free Viet Khang with tags , , , on November 18, 2012 by Ian Pham

Alright, so a little over a week ago (October 30… Sorry we took a while), the Communist Party delivered their verdict on Viet Khang’s trial.  After a half-day of rigorous show-trialling, the Communist Party, Viet Khang was sentenced to four years in prison and a supposed two years of house arrest.

On trial with Viet Khang is fellow musician/songwriter Hoang Nhat Thong (his real name is Tran Vu Anh Binh), who is also sentenced to a harsh prison term of six years in prison.  Mr. Tran Vu Anh Binh wrote a song in honor of the democracy activist Dieu Cay, titled “Nguc Toi Hien Ngang”, or “Courage in the Dark prison”.

Viet Khang’s verdict is somewhat lighter than I expected (though it is still extremely harsh) when comparing to other democracy activists (Dieu Cay got 12 years).  This may or may not be due to the international attention given to Viet Khang’s case, and there was a lot of attention from the Vietnamese community around the world regarding Viet Khang.

It is not yet clear what the situation in Vietnam is like now that a sentence has been placed on Viet Khang.  What I am sure of however is that the arrests and unfair treatment of innocent people will continue.  It’s a long and arduous process but there is really no way the Party can ever regain their legitimacy.  They have demeaned themselves, the country, and the people of Vietnam for so long, it is no longer a tangible task for them to gain any respect from their people, the world, or each other.

A coward can only hide his cowardice for so long, and even then, he cannot fool himself into having courage.  As far as the Communist Party is concerned, they are surviving off borrowed time.  They can keep suppressing, they can keep censoring, and they can keep pretending they aren’t Chinese dogs.  However, they cannot wipe the blood off their hands, and they will never again look valiant and righteous in the eyes of their people.  Even the great regimes don’t last forever, and the Communists are definitely not the greats.

The Trial of Viet Khang

Posted in Current Events, Editor's Note, Free Viet Khang with tags , , , on October 28, 2012 by Ian Pham

I’ve got a small shred of good news about the whereabouts of Viet Khang, followed by a heavy dose of bad news.  The good news, Viet Khang is still alive.  The bad news, that’s about all we know of him.  Ever since his arrest earlier this year, Viet Khang has been in the custody of the Communist Party police for his criticism of the Communist Party through song.  There is no doubt that he has been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment for having the courage to shame the Communists for the Chinese sheep-dogs they really are.  In the coming days, the Party will put him on “trial”, so obviously, justice will not be served.

The outcome of the trial is as predictable as a sliced bread.  The judges, juries, and executioners will all be members of the Communist Party, the heroic Viet Khang will not get a chance to defend himself, and then the Communists will pretend that the “verdict” came from processes of deliberation and debate.  The trial is all a load of bull, we will all see right through it, but the Communists will still insist that the trial was fair.  The question is not whether he will get sentenced or not, but how long and severe the punishment will be.  The Communists are no strangers to incarceration, torture, and execution, all are possibilities in the case of Viet Khang.  This is actually the troubling part for those of us watching form the outside.

If the Communists are smart, which they aren’t really, they will sentence Viet Khang to a few short years in jail, this is the best case scenario.  If the Communists are stupid, which they are, they will sentence Viet Khang to over a decade in prison, exile him, or even sentence him to death.  They probably won’t be so stupid to publicly declare his death sentence, as it could cause public outrage, backfire, and even spark social unrest, but at the same time, they’re Communists, they’re stupid.

Given the magnitude of Viet Khang’s actions, it is most likely that he will be receiving a long jail sentence lasting for a decade or more.  Viet Khang is internationally famous among the Vietnamese community for writing two songs, “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?”, tackling the topic of Vietnamese police brutality, corruption, and cowardice, and “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where’s My Vietnam)?” shaming the Vietnamese Communist Party for selling out the country to the Chinese and devastating Vietnam with their greed and corruption.

From the outside, it may look like there is nothing we can do to help Viet Khang.  In the physical, this may be true, but morally, spiritually, and especially politically, there are many things we can do.  Morally, just support Viet Khang’s cause, and believe that everything he’s done up to now has not been in vain.  Spiritually, pray for Viet Khang, send your thoughts out to him, and do not lose hope.  Politically, support Viet Khang, spread the word of his music, and make sure that everyone from this generation onward knows of his courage, strength, and his selfless acts.  Also, make sure to support Truc Ho and his tireless efforts to bring democracy and human rights to Vietnam.

Musical producer and political activist Truc Ho has been fighting endlessly to create awareness for Viet Khang’s cause.  Mr. Truc has been, and continues to lobby U.S. politicians, as well as the international community at large, on behalf of human rights in Vietnam.  He has also fought to bring awareness and international support for Viet Khang’s cause.  Needless to say, he’s done more than a fair bit to help the democracy and human rights movement in Vietnam.

Not everyone can do what Truc Ho has done, but everyone can do something to help the cause.  I myself can write, therefore I write on this blog to spread the word about Vietnam’s situation and what we can do to help.  Truc Ho has his many contacts, his music company, and his new television network to create awareness on a massive scale.  We all have many unique skills that can help the cause.  We live all over the world, and we all work in different places.  However, we all believe that Vietnam deserves freedom, and that Viet Khang too deserves his freedom.  For now, we wait, we hope, and we pray.  Tomorrow, we will be the change.

The White House Listens

Posted in Current Events, Editor's Note, Free Viet Khang with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by Ian Pham

For those of you who were disappointed about Mr. Truc Ho’s trip to Washington, here is some very good news that may raise your spirits.  If you are among the many who signed the “We, the People” petition started by Truc Ho, chances are you have recently received an email of acknowledgement from the White House.  If you did not sign the petition, or if for some reason you never received the email, the contents are as follows:

Petition Response:

Pursuing Progress on Human Rights with Vietnam

By Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at Department of State

I would like to thank all of you who signed this petition underscoring Americans’ concern for human rights in Vietnam and the United States-Vietnam relationship. As our dialogue with Vietnam evolves, we are especially cognizant of the views of the Vietnamese community in the U.S.

The United States will remain diligent in pursuing progress on human rights in our high-level engagement as we pursue a wide array of security, economic, and strategic interests with Vietnam. In our discussions with the Vietnamese government, we emphasize that progress on human rights, including the release of political prisoners and freedom of religion, is a necessary part of improving United States-Vietnam relations. Secretary of State Clinton raised our human rights concerns with President Sang when they met at the November 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear has raised similar concerns in all of his high-level meetings since arriving in Vietnam last August, and he and the Mission regularly engage Vietnamese government officials, nongovernmental organizations, and other individuals as part of our Government’s commitment to promote greater respect for human rights in Vietnam.

During the annual United States-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue meeting in November, I, along with Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook and other high-level officials, urged Vietnam to release all political prisoners, strengthen religious freedom, ratify and implement the Convention Against Torture, and take other steps to protect and promote universal human rights.

My colleague, Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, underscored these concerns directly with Vietnamese officials during his most recent visit to Hanoi on February 2. Read a transcript of his press conference in Hanoi here (PDF).

In addition, our engagement with Vietnam on trade, including through its interest in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, has provided opportunities to raise these issues. Both GSP and TPP include commitments to labor rights protections, including freedom of association.

The Obama Administration is committed to an ongoing dialogue with the Vietnamese American community. On March 5, 2012, my colleagues and I participated in a briefing held by the White House Office of Public Engagement for 165 Vietnamese Americans from 30 states who work across diaspora communities in order to promote human rights, global partnerships, and opportunities for Vietnamese abroad. During the meeting, we stressed that human rights issues are a key component of ongoing discussions with Vietnam and that the United States continuously engages Vietnam on human rights through many different channels, including the annual United States-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue.

I encourage everyone involved in this petition to continue to express your views and concerns to the Administration, and most importantly to the Vietnamese government. I also encourage you to follow our work on http://www.humanrights.gov. (Also, see the State Department’s 2010 Human Rights Report for Vietnam and the latest International Religious Freedom Report for Vietnam).

We look forward to meaningful dialogue and partnerships with your community in the future.

Check out this response on We the People.

Stay Connected

Stay connected to the White House by signing up for periodic email updates from President Obama and other senior administration officials.

Alas!  President Obama and the White House has been listening after all.  The contents of this document declares that the U.S. government and the Obama Administration is committed to promoting and protecting human rights.  Everyone is encouraged by the White House to continue to voice their opinions, both to the U.S. and the Vietnamese government.  This goes to show that when we work together and show that we are united, great things can happen.  To everyone in this struggle for freedom, your efforts have not been in vein.  Keep persisting, keep believing, because nothing meaningful ever comes easy.

The Voice and The Vote

Posted in Current Events, Editor's Note, Free Viet Khang with tags , , , , on March 28, 2012 by Ian Pham

It’s been a while since we’ve heard of Viet Khang’s whereabouts, no one really knows what happened to him.  What we do know is that he has not been freed by the Communist government.  Whether he is still alive or not is also a big question, one that probably won’t be answered for a while, if ever.  However, that is no reason for us to feel hopeless or discouraged.  Brother Viet Khang knew full well what he was getting into, and I am sure that he did not sacrifice himself just to see us fall into despair.

Through a collection of courageous acts, Viet Khang was able to capture the attention of the entire world.  With the help of Mr. Truc Ho, Viet Khang’s music has shown the world the sad way of life that the Vietnamese people are faced with every single day.  Viet Khang painted the crimes of the Communist Party, making it crystal clear to every Vietnamese across the world.

Before Viet Khang, only a handful young Vietnamese oversees knew about the atrocities committed by the Communist Party.  Now, Vietnamese people across the continents, young and old alike, are now conscious of the dire situation that the Party has put the country into.  As young Vietnamese living oversees, what can we do about it?  As individuals who are shut out from the Communist system, it may feel like we are powerless in dealing with the Communist Party.  This however, is a misconception.

As citizens of a free and democratic country, young adults like yourselves have something that is extremelt valuable.  That gift, my friends, is the right to vote.  As explained very eloquently by Mr. Truc Ho, election season is coming up, and the presidential candidates will do whatever they can to acquire the most votes.  This means that they will be more than happy to appeal to all types of social groups across the country, and as Vietnamese living in America, you too can be a part of this.

It is true that Mr. Truc Ho did not meet the president on his visit to Washington, but the fact remains that he was invited to the White House.  Because of his hard work and genuine dedication, Mr. Truc Ho had captured the attention of the White House.  Besides human rights, there is a very prevalent reason that Truc Ho was invited to Washington.  By rallying nearly 150,000 signatures to his petition, Truc Ho has shown that there is a strong group of potential voters out there.  If there is one thing that a politician loves, it’s the vote.

There are millions of Vietnamese adults living in the U.S., and as American citizens, we all have the vote.  If we show the politicians that we are united, they will listen to what we have to say.  It does not have to be Barack Obama that we are calling upon.  If our voice is strong enough, other candidates will come to us, instead of the other way around.  It is not out of the question for Governor Mitt Romney to throw is support behind us if we are willing to reciprocate with our votes.

Whether it be the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, it could not matter less.  When the presidential candidates realize that there are a million of us, united in our cause, and united in our vote, it will only be a matter of time before they offer their support to us.  Mr. Truc Ho has a very clear vision, and he communicates it very well.  If you want to hear more about this campaign, watch Truc Ho’s SBTN program, for he has much to teach us.

One final word, and this involves all of us.  Whether you are young or old, whether you partake in the democratic process or not (let’s be honest, I know not all of you vote), just be proud of who you are and where you are from.  Before we even exercise our democratic rights, just remember that we are Vietnamese, and that we take pride in our culture and our heritage.  It is undeniable that we are proud of our homeland, whether it be America, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, or anywhere else in the world.  That being said, don’t forget that we are also Vietnamese, our parents are Vietnamese, and our grandparents are Vietnamese.  We must be proud of that as well.  One love.

Truc Ho’s Dedication and the Trip to Washington

Posted in Current Events, Free Viet Khang with tags , , , , on March 10, 2012 by Ian Pham

This past Monday, Vietnamese musical producer and democracy activist Truc Ho flew to Washington D.C., hoping to meet with the President of the United States.  Mr. Truc has been looking forward to this day, campaigning non-stop over the case of the imprisoned musician Viet Khang.  However, upon his arrival at the White House, Mr. Truc was not greeted by the President, or even a representive on his behalf.  What followed instead were a series of confusing events which many are still trying to understand.

The full details of what happened at the White House is still unclear, the only certainty is that there was miscommunication, on many fronts.  According to sources, Mr. Truc was expected at the White House, but his hosts were unclear on who they were meeting.  The officials at the White House had organized a conference briefing on the leaders of the Vietnamese youth, thinking that Truc Ho was a leader of this group.  When Truc Ho arrived in the conference room, he thought he was in the wrong place.  To his surprise, this room was meant for him.

When it became clear that the White House officials had made a mistake, Truc Ho had to explain to them that he was not a leader of the Vietnamese youth.  He was simply a democracy activist trying to raise the issue of human rights in Vietnam to the U.S. government.  After this disappointing ordeal, Mr. Truc Ho departed from the White House and proceeded outside to his many supporters at the White House entrance.  Many of Truc Ho’s supporters had made the trip to Wasington with him, showing that they are behind him 100%.

In the end, Mr. Truc Ho did not meet President Obama, though he was contacted by the White House at the beginning.  Even so, this event should not be labelled as a failure.  Because of his efforts, Truc Ho was able to spread awareness across the globe about the human rights abuses in Vietnam.  Not only did he capture the attention of the Vietnamese in the United States, but in many other countries all over the world.  In 30 short days, Truc Ho’s petition had achieved 149,050 signatures!  Thanks to him, citizens in America, Canada, Australia, France, and many other nations know of Viet Khang and Vietnam’s desperate need for change.

This struggle for freedom and democracy in Vietnam is not a one step process.  It is long and difficult, with many challenges and obstacles along the way.  The belief that President Barack Obama was going fix all of Vietnam’s problems was simply too good to be true.  Truc Ho may not have met with the President, but his movement was a success.  I commend Mr. Truc Ho, along with his team over at SBTN for all of their hard work.  Thanks to them, the Vietnamese across the world are united.  Not only that, but the people in Vietnam now know we are out there, and that we stand behind them no matter what.  This is not the end, people, this is only the beginning.  Freedom for Vietnam.

The President Listens

Posted in Current Events, Editor's Note, Free Viet Khang with tags , , , , on February 24, 2012 by Ian Pham

Great news, people!  As of this moment, the human rights petition established by Truc Ho has achieved more than 70,000 signatures!  Furthermore, the success of the petition has captured the attention of a very important individual.  Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America, has answered the calls of the people.  According to SBTN, President Obama is very interested in the petition, and even more interested in the music of Viet Khang.

In the coming weeks, March 5, 2012, Mr. Truc Ho will be meeting President Obama in Washington to discuss the circumstances of Viet Khang, as well as the broader human rights situation in Vietnam.  It is also the wishes of President Obama to listen to Viet Khang’s songs, “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where’s My Vietnam)?” and “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?”.  The President wants to understand the words of Viet Khang, to see how the musician has been captivating so many people across the world.

This is a result of Mr. Truc’s hard work and dedication, as he has been advertising and campaigning endlessly on behalf of the imprisoned musician.  At this point in time, the We, the People petition has gained over 70,000 signatures, shattering the minimum threshold of 25,000 signatures.  This is a major accomplishment, but one would be wrong to assume that it is enough.

We may have surpassed the threshold of 25,000, but this is only the beginning, as there is still much work to do.  According to Truc Ho, and it should be obvious to all of us, the power of a petition lies in its signatures.  If we achieve 25,000, which we did, the president will be answering the calls of 25,000 people.  However, if we achieve 100,000 signatures, the president would be responding to 100,000 people! Now imagine 250,000 people, how powerful our voice would be then?

As citizens of democracy, we have the power to make our voices heard by our leaders.  The fact that President Obama, the most powerful man in the world, has taken the time to look over this petition, clearly demonstrates how important our voice is to him.  As autonomous individuals, we don’t all have money and we don’t all have corporate muscle.  What we do have however, all of us, is the vote.  If you think that your voice does not matter to the government, please think again.  You all have the power to make a change, and many of you have already done so much.  Thank you, now let’s keep going!

Help Spread the Word, Sign the Petition!

Posted in Current Events, Editor's Note, Free Viet Khang with tags on February 9, 2012 by Ian Pham

If you haven’t heard yet, there is a petition out there right now, urging the White House to press Vietnam harder on human rights.  This is a direct response to the “Free Viet Khang” movement, aiming to spread awareness of how brutal and corrupted the Communist regime in Vietnam is.  If you support the human rights movement, and would like to contribute to the cause, please sign this petition.

All you have to do is click on the link below and follow a few simple steps.  I assure you, this will only take you three minutes, if that.  The petition needs 25,000 signatures by March 8, 2012, for the White House to seriously consider it.  At this point in time, the petition is making great progress, but you too can help by donating a few minutes of your time. Support the basic freedoms, support human rights!

To sign the petition, click here!

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/stop-expanding-trade-vietnam-expense-human-rights/53PQRDZH

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