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Le dictionnaire

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REMAINS, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

Since the end of the American War in Vietnam in 1975, and especially since the application of the policy of doi moi or “renovation” in 1986, Vietnamese authorities and families have accelerated their attempts to locate the remains of civilians and soldiers killed in the Indochina War. American efforts to locate their “missing in action” (MIA) in the 1980s and 1990s also made this an issue for the Vietnamese communist side. In 1993, the Vietnamese spoke of 300,000 MIAs for the Vietnam War. The government has never released the number of MIAs stemming from the Indochina War. This has not stopped Vietnamese friends and family from trying to locate their loved ones. And given the importance of this domestic issue, the government is now deeply involved. In December 2003, local residents working in collaboration with the Kontum Province Military Headquarters and the Province Veterans Association located graves of dozens of soldiers killed during the battle of Mang Den in January 1954. Increasingly sophisticated scientific methods, especially forensic methods for DNA testing, are being used to identify the remains found across former French Indochina. The Bio-Industry Institute of the National Industrial and Natural Sciences Center is currently establishing a data bank to identify the remains of unknown soldiers, and is now capable of identifying hundreds of cases each year. Relatives of missing soldiers and civilians provide information about their loved ones and supply blood samples for use in DNA identification. The MIA issue became a particularly important one following the 1991 Party congress, when veterans groups and Party members forced the Party to take concrete action to help family members and veterans recover their loved ones’ remains. See also REMAINS, FRENCH UNION; CAM LY, MASSACRE; CEMETERIES; PENSION; MYTH OF WAR; EXPERIENCE OF WAR; LOVE AND WAR; LANGUAGE OF WAR; MEMORIAL DAY, INDOCHINA WAR; MARTYR; WAR MEMORIAL, DIEN BIEN PHU; ASSOCIATION OF MOTHERS OF SOLDIERS; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS D’INDOCHINE ET DU SOUVENIR INDOCHINOIS; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS ET AMIS DE L’INDOCHINE ET DU SOUVENIR INDOCHINOIS; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES COMBATTANTS DE DIEN BIEN PHU; NECROPOLIS; MEMORIAL CAO BANG; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS PRISONNIERS INTERNÉS D’INDOCHINE; COMICS AND WAR.