Culture & Sport

First English video of Vietnamese pop start Sơn Tùng M-TP censored in his country

The Vietnamese pop star Sơn Tùng M-TP released his first music video in English. It was censored in his country few hours later because it would promote suicide.

Sơn Tùng M-TP, There's no one at all

Sơn Tùng M-TP is a singer, songwriter and pop star from Vietnam, even called the Prince of V-pop. But Vietnamese authorities decided to ban his latest music video, less than a day after its release on YouTube.

Sơn Tùng M-TP has about 14 million fans on Facebook, 3.3 million subscribers on Spotify and 500,000 listeners on the streaming platform each month, almost 10 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and is probably the most successful artist of Vietnam.

On April 12, he released his first song in English, There’s no one at all, a new challenge for the 27-year-old man who wrote that “it’s time to conquer another mountain” announcing his new song. This will most likely help him reach a larger international audience. The music video released on Thursday evening became an instant success.

The video reached 1 million views in 22 minutes on YouTube. It gathered more than 6 million views at the time of writing, 19 hours after its release.

The video shows Sơn Tùng M-TP struggling with his life, breaking mirrors, being arrested, and ends with a jump from a building for what looks like suicide.

But for the Vietnamese ministry of Information and Communications, this new video contains illegal content after having received feedback from viewers, according to its statement published on Friday.

Two state regulatory agencies decided to censor the video, taking measures to prevent from “posting, circulating, and spreading” the music video online. The reason given by officials is that the content uses negative images affecting young people by promoting suicide.

The Department of Performing Arts found that There’s No One At All carried a “negative, non-educational message with many scenes of violence and at the end a suicidal character which has a strong impact on the viewer’s psychology, easily influencing and orienting negative behavior in society, especially among children.” As such, authorities consider the video violates the country’s “customs and traditions, negatively impacting morale, public health and social psychology”.

Vietnamese authorities then sent requests to YouTube and other social media platforms to remove the content from online access. According to the ministry, a TitkTok representative said the platform banned the video due to “obvious behavior encouraging suicide”. Video excerpts of There’s no one at all are still available on TikTok, but none include images of the jump.

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