The culture ministry has asked local authorities to end a bride kidnapping custom prevalent among the H’mong ethnic group.
In a statement Thursday, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that the custom in which a man deliberately kidnaps a woman to make her his wife was “offensive” and “incompatible with national cultural traditions.”
It also affects “the good values of H’mong people,” the ministry said.
A still image from a video shared on social media shows an 18-year-old man trying to make a 16-year-old girl his wife in Ha Giang Province, February 2022.
The order followed an incident last month when a 16-year-old H’mong girl was rescued by a police officer in Ha Giang Province as an 18-year-old youth tried to kidnap her.
Captain Ly Ngoc Tuan was on a patrol in Pa Vi Commune, Meo Vac District, when he saw the girl being dragged by a young man, apparently against her will.
However, she could not fight back and locals who were witnessing the incident did not interfere with the “tradition.”
Tuan intervened and saved the girl from her suitor’s clutches.
She later confirmed that she was not willing to become his wife.
Thao Minh Son, chairman of Pa Vi, said the “kidnapping custom” was a distortion of the original practice of elopement that meant to allow men and women who want to be together decide their own future.
The legal marriageable age in Vietnam is 18 for women and 20 for men.
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