It’s been a crazy week in terms of news for China. There was the mass killing spree by suspected Xinjiang terrorists in Kunming two weeks ago, then the annual two sessions (China’s version of a parliament) started last week. But by now, surely many of you must have heard of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which went missing last Saturday (supposedly) in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It’s gone from tragic to bizarre to absurd to suspicious. The flight had 239 people on board with over 150 being Chinese, so it’s apparent why it matters so much to China. Nerves are increasingly fraying in Beijing as hundreds of relatives desperately await news of the flight and their missing loved ones. The sudden disappearance of the plane, and the fact it’s still missing after 6 days of searching by dozens of planes and ships from at least 10 nations has been strange, to say the least.
Unfortunately it’s been compounded by a series of strange, confusing or suspicious developments including:
-the fact two travelers boarded the flight using stolen passports (Mario Balotelli was mentioned, really), leading to speculation about terrorists and hijackers, but apparently using stolen passports to fly, especially in SE Asia, isn’t uncommon
-the claims that the plane may have turned westwards, in the opposite direction of its flight path, and that the Malaysian military might have tracked it after it first went missing, which the air force head later denied
-another claim that the plane might have continued to fly for hours after all contact was lost, which Malaysia then denied
-a report about pieces of debris pictured by Chinese satellites, which Malaysia also denied was the plane
-another report that Taiwan received a warning March 4 that Beijing’s airport might be hit by a terrorist attack
-another report that the copilot of the missing flight invited teen girls into the cockpit during a flight two years ago
-the performance of a ritual by a Malaysian shaman at the Kuala Lumpur airport to find the plane (not surprisingly, most Chinese are not amused)
However, here’s a surprisingly levelheaded article explaining why it’s not that farfetched for a plane to disappear.
The US thinks the plane did fly westwards and for several hours after its last reported sighting on radar, so it will start search attempts in the Indian Ocean. It’s fair to say that the chances aren’t good that the plane didn’t crash, but at the least hopefully it will be found soon. Malaysia isn’t looking very good as the search goes on, and as can be seen from the news and the above links, there’ve been a lot of confusion and mixups going on. The only good thing from this tragedy is the multilateral help and cooperation involving several SE Asian nations, China, the US, India and Australia and New Zealand.