Nguyen Huu Tin

Current Status: At risk

Photo of Nguyen Huu Tin

Other Names: Nguyễn Hữu Tín, Nguyễn Tín

Date of Birth: July 2, 1990

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Musician

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Environment
  • Human rights
  • Sovereignty



Nguyen Huu Tin, known as Nguyen Tin, was born in Can Tho province. He is a singer and runs an online business.

Profile photo source: Facebook Nguyễn Tín

History of Activism

Nguyen Tin is a dissident singer who covers apolitical love songs, which were censored harshly by the communist authorities after 1975.

On his Facebook Nguyễn Tín, he often shares his views on national issues, such as the Formosa environmental disaster in the central provinces.

He usually participates in peaceful demonstrations and supports families of political prisoners. On June 10 and 11, 2018, he was detained for three days  after taking part in a demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10 against proposed laws on Special Economic Zones and Cybersecurity.

Since being released, he has been continually harassed and threatened, and his livelihood has been disrupted as the authorities prevent live music clubs from hiring him.

June 15, 2018: detained for three days after participating in a demonstration on June 10-11, 2018

June 15-17, 2018
Public security
His residence in Ho Chi Minh City (map)

  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • not be subjected to torture and degrading treatment

At 10:05 pm on June 15, 2018, a number of police and security forces suddenly forced Tin to the police station of Ward 15 , Tan Binh district. He had to work on the issue of temporary residence despite trying to give them legal documents right at his house. They then questioned him about a Facebook account, which was accused of belonging to him.  Because of his denial and silence, Tin was harshly beaten on his head. 

Around 12:00 am on June 16, another security officer interrogated Tin on his pariticipation in a demonstration on June 10, which was to protest against two bills on Special Economic Zone and Cybersecurity. Because of Tin’s non-cooperation to answer their questions and to unlock his phone, police kept beating him continuously.

During this 48-hour detention, Tin did not eat food and only drank water. Finally, they had to release him on June 17, 2018.

August 15, 2018: private show raided and guests assaulted

  • Property confiscation
  • Physical assault in a public space
August 15, 2018
  • Public security
  • Ministry of Information and Culture
Casanova Cafe, No 61C, Tu Xuong Street, District 7, Ward 3, Ho Chi Minh City (map)

  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of peaceful assembly
  • not be subjected to torture and degrading treatment

On August 15, 2018, Nguyen Tin's mini-show at Casanova Cafe in Ho Chi Minh City, Sai Gon Ky Niem (Memory of Saigon), was raided and broken up by a large number of police officers. Nguyen Tin and other participants, including prominent journalist and writer Pham Doan Trang, engineer Nguyen Dai, and many other guests, were severely beaten right at the cafe. Preventing Nguyen Tin from singing apolitical love songs composed before 1975 and attacking activists, especially Pham Doan Trang, were believed to be the main purposes for this crackdown.

According to Nguyen Lan Thang, one of the invitees present at the concert, Memory of Saigon was organized for a limited number of guests by some friends of Nguyen Tin, led by Nguyen Dai and Pham Doan Trang. Only a small group of trusted people who follow and support the democratic cause were invited to join. To ensure confidentiality and safety, the venue of the concert was only revealed to the selected guests at the last minute, which made surveillance by authorities in Ho Chi Minh City difficult.

The authorities watched Nguyen Dai for many days but failed to find out the show’s venue in advance. The only information they got was the invitation to the concert because of its publicity. Unfortunately, by following some invited guests, they finally got the address on the day of the show.

Nguyen Tin told the BBC that after he performed seven or eight songs, the police force of Ward 7, District 3 and an interdepartmental examination delegation of information and culture (the “examination delegation”) stormed into the cafe and asked for the concert license. Nguyen Tin kept singing despite knowing that dozens of police, vigilantes, and security men in both uniforms and plain clothes were surrounding the coffee shop. Around 9:30 pm, Nguyen Tin had to apologize to around 80 music showgoers for having to reluctantly halt his show. Pressure from police on Casanova’s owner forced Nguyen Tin’s live show to end earlier than scheduled.

After that, the police locked the door of the cafe and asked to examine the audience’s ID cards. Some women were released while the rest were still confined in the cafe. Activist Duong Dai Trieu Lam recounted that the police were crowding outside, with three to four specialty vehicles arriving by 10:20 pm. Arrests started, and police attacked many activists and guests.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Tin was working with the examination delegation inside and was fined for the alleged lack of a performance license, lack of copyright permission, and performing songs that have not been allowed to circulate. Police also confiscated his phone and wallet, which included his important documents such as driver’s license and ID card. He was questioned as to who organized this event and beaten for an hour before being brought into a seven-seat car with his hands cuffed.

Nguyen Dai, one of the organizers, was also beaten and put in the same car as Nguyen Tin. Both of them were blindfolded and hooded with their hands cuffed.  The police drove about 60 km and stopped at a rubber forest in Cu Chi district, where police pushed Nguyen Tin out and left him there. The car drove on for 15 minutes more, at which point the police dragged Nguyen Dai out and left him in the forest without any money or documents. Tin and Dai managed to find their way home while coping with their injuries. Duong Dai Trieu Lam stated that he and others picked Nguyen Tin up at 2:30 am in Tan An Hoi commune, Cu Chi district, while Nguyen Dai arrived home at 6:20 am.

Dinh Nhat Uy reported that police also arrested many other activists, including Nguyen Tien Trung, Nguyen Lan Thang, Huynh Phuong Ngoc, Ta Quang Linh, Tran Minh Khanh, Huynh Thanh Phat, and many others, and moved them to the police station of District 3. Among them, Pham Doan Trang was assaulted the most brutally, causing a brain concussion and prolong harrassment by police.

October 15, 2020: forcefully evicted

  • Harassment against family of activist at risk
  • Forced eviction
  • Travel restriction
October 15, 2020
Public security
BEEHOME Building located in Tan Binh district (map)

respect of privacy, family, home, and correspondence

After the arrest of journalist and activist Pham Doan Trang on October 6, 2020, the crackdown against people close to her worsened. 

On October 15, Nguyen Tin and his family received a call from LHQ International Investment JSC, which operates the BEEHOME Building located in Tan Binh district, HCM City, where Mr. Tin’s family was residing. They informed them that their family had to move out of their apartment within a week, as the company was forced by the city’s authorities to cancel the three-month renting contract, which was signed less than a month prior. The local police stated “security” as the reason. The firm also refused to return their deposit, which is the tripled amount of the monthly rent costs, as well as the compensation for the early cancelation of the contract.

Profile last updated: 2024-06-13 20:34:05

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