VIETNAM: The Overseas Slander Musical

Who knew that Do-Re-Mi could spell Do-Re-Banned?

Two Vietnamese singers in the US have been banned from performing in Vietnam, accused of opposing the mother country with slanderous lyrics.

Thanh Tuyen and Tuan Vu, along with a handful of others, were charged with slander for their performances on the latest DVD by Asia Music Corp & Asia Entertainment Inc., a Vietnamese music association based in the US that produces an annual music show and accompanying DVD.

Hanoi entertains a very broad definition of anti-government speech and has previously condemned all sorts of protesters, bloggers and other alleged slanderers. In the musicians’ case, it means they will no longer be provided performing licenses in Vietnam.

But at least get your facts straight, political machine. Two government controlled news venues, Thanh Nien News and Sai Gon Giai Phong, describe the situation completely differently. On TNN, the singers and others are banned and local singers are to be punished by local culture authorities. On Sai Gon GP, the singers are in the process of being banned, and neither Tuyen nor Vu was singled out for special attention.

It seems that no matter where you are, home or abroad, the Vietnamese government will have a bone to pick with all but the most nationalistic artists. Independent music remains an especially a-choir-ed taste for those in power.

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