Trần Vũ Anh Bình, a Vietnamese musician, was released May 21, 2017, four months before the end of his 6 year sentence. He was charged with “Anti-State Propaganda” for producing music that criticized Vietnam’s response to peaceful anti-China protests.
Trần was part of the Voice Project’s Imprisoned for Art campaign that brought global attention to several artists wrongfully imprisoned around the world. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros singer Alex Ebert championed his cause stating, “No one should go to prison for singing a song. No one should be abused by their government for speaking out about injustice”.
In addition to producing music critical of the government, Bình is also a founder of the Patriotic Youth movement, founded in April 2011, which advocates for democracy, religious freedom, and greater Vietnamese sovereignty against China. He ran the blog Love Mother Vietnam (Thuong Me Viet Nam) where he posted songs and articles advocating peaceful protest. Bình is a member of Vietnam’s Catholic minority.
Bình been unfairly placed in solitary confinement for protesting the installation of a camera in his cell, and participated in a 13 day hunger strike to protest other prisoner abuses such as phone calls cut short and punishments for food sharing. The hunger strike was successful after international coverage created enough pressure for an official acknowledgment that the prison staff had violated the rules.
Following his release, Binh returned to his home in Ho Chi Minh City with no fanfare after requesting that friends and family not meet him. He hopes to resume his involvement with music and prays that he not forget the shared goals of the Vietnamese people.