China media: Plane protest
- 26 March 2014
- From the section China
Media are cautiously reporting the protest staged by grieving family members of the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet in Beijing on Tuesday.
Major broadsheets seem to be reining in on reporting the angry protest, a day after Malaysia's prime minister announced that the missing flight "ended its journey" in the ocean.
Almost 100 relatives and their supporters marched to the Malaysian Embassy in China, pushing past Chinese police lines and launching a rare public march on the streets of Beijing.
Making no mention of the scuffles, the Beijing Youth Daily describes the protest as one that was "rational and controlled".
"We are going to the embassy to hand over our protest letter… We are going there to express our reasonable protest and complaint, not to create trouble," the paper quotes a relative as saying.
The Beijing Times says the relatives are "appealing for answers". The daily has published photos of disappointed relatives holding placards with emotional messages written on them.
"Mum's cooking is the best," a young man's card read. "I've bought the wedding ring and waiting for you to wear it," says another placard.
State-run People's Daily, however, carries no news of the protest.
'Show the truth'
Meanwhile, dailies continue to be critical of the Malaysia government but appear to be less harsh in their comments.
In a measured tone, the Beijing News compares the recent incident to the fate of Air France Flight 447 which crashed in the Atlantic in 2009. Its wreckage was spotted five days after its disappearance.
The daily subtly questions Malaysia's ability to conduct a thorough investigation and suggests it should allow international organisations to lead the work.
"The current incident is more complex and the investigation is far more challenging than that of the Air France 447 accident. Malaysia's ability and co-ordinating capability is quite a distance from France. It is timely now to consider handing over leadership of the search and investigation work to a specialised international co-ordinating organisation," it says.
A commentary in the Beijing Times says the Malaysian authorities have been giving people the impression they are "unprofessional and passive". The daily hopes they would shed more light by willingly sharing more information during the search for debris.
"Malaysia, you owe the world the truth… the whole world is waiting for Malaysia: please show sincerity, please show the truth," it adds.
The Southern Metropolis Daily comments that Malaysia Airlines' conclusion that the plane crashed is "unacceptable". It says the emotional response of the relatives and netizens is a show of frustration towards the Malaysian authorities.
"It might seem that the relatives have difficulties accepting the tragedy… But, Malaysia is slow in sharing relevant information and wasting neighbouring countries' search effort… the public have been given the impression that Malaysia's way of handling the crisis is hasty and disorderly."
In contrast to the more restrained tone in newspapers, social media users and celebrities are lashing out at Malaysia and have called for a boycott of its national carrier.
News portals are publishing reactions from Chinese personalities who have expressed their anger on weibo, a Twitter-like service in China.
Media outlets are also reporting that some netizens are venting their anger on several Malaysian Chinese singers by asking them to "get out of China".