Authorities in the north-central province of Nghe An have decreed that all soldiers' remains found by mediums must be confirmed by DNA tests in order to be made official.
Nghe An Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, provincial police and military agencies, and the Department of Information and Communication, have been asked to make sure local residents recognize that the use of mediums to find the remains of missing war martyrs is not scientific and must be backed up by hard evidence, the Vietnam News Agency said Monday.
For decades, families in Vietnam have been using mediums to search for the remains of hundreds of thousands of soldiers who went missing during the Vietnam War.
Mediums often claim to find the remains of the families' relatives at unmarked graves in war martyr cemetaries across the country.
Local officials in Nghe An now want to curb any ill effects of such practices such as environmental pollution caused by the digging up of graves, public disorder, and the common practice of charlatans ripping off greiving families by charging exhorbitant prices for unconfirmed results, according to a statement from the provincial People's Committee.
Any families claiming that mediums have found their relatives must now have those remains tested for DNA before moving the decomposed bodies from martyr cemeteries to their homes.
The Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has been asked to make the list of such families for the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, which has been tasked with helping the families conduct the tests.
Families who want to send the remains of relatives found using mediums into provincial martyr cemeteries must also do the same, the statement said.
Nghe An authorities have also asked media agencies to run accurate and objective reports on the results of mediums' searches to properly inform residents and prevent con artists from profiting off the greiving families who entrust them with the task.