Embalmed leader ‘in great condition’

FILE PHOTO: Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is seen in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019. Picture taken March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

HANOI: The embalmed body of Vietnam’s founding leader, Ho Chi Minh (pic), is in great condition, state media said, a month after the government recruited a team of Russian experts to help preserve the former revolutionary’s body.

Last month, Vietnam formed a special council of Vietnamese and Russian scientists to assess the condition of Ho’s ageing corpse, which was first embalmed nearly 50 years ago.

“The council proposed further improving the procedures to examine and assess President Ho Chi Minh’s body using scientific methods,” the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported yesterday.

The body “is in great condition and has been well-preserved”.

The late leader, affectionately known as “Uncle Ho” in Vietnam, died at age 79 in 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War

His body is preserved in a large Soviet-des­igned mausoleum in the capital Hanoi, where he is displayed within a glass coffin in the dark interior.

Several countries across the world, including China, North Korea and Viet­nam, have embalmed their founding leaders with help from

the Soviet Union’s “Lenin Lab”, which put the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin on display in Moscow shortly after his death in 1924.Vietnam and Russia will increase efforts to preserve Ho’s body by sharing more information and holding regular symposiums between the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Man­agement Board and the Moscow Biomedical Research Centre, VNA said.The South-East Asian country is planning a nationwide series of events ahead of Sept 2, the 50th anniversary of Ho’s death.

The events are designed to carry out Ho’s will.

According to the website of its propaganda department, this will mean affirming the value of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party and nurturing the country’s “next generation of revolutionaries”.

One line of Ho’s last testament was not mentioned in the celebration plans, however.

According to a photo of the handwritten will, published on the Party’s official website on Wed­nesday, the late leader had other plans for his body after death.

“I require that my body be cremated,” Ho wrote. — Reuters

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