The failure to cremate Ho Chi Minh, Chairman of Vietnam’s communist party, in 1969, as he wanted, haunts the Vietnamese authorities.
When Ho died aged 79 he said that his ashes should be scattered across several place in Vietnam. Instead he was embalmed and put on show in a mausoleum (pictured) in Ba Đình Square in Hanoi.
The Vietnamese use embalming specialists from Russia to preserve the look of Ho. They have experience – looking after the corpse of Lenin, among other communist leaders.
After 1991, when communism fell apart, the Russians introduced a bit of capitalism into the deal – they charge the Vietnamese for the service. And the annual maintenance is about to start again.