'Nonsense' over Malaysia Airlines MH 370 churns China storm

Written by AFP | Beijing | Updated: Mar 18 2014, 19:53pm hrs
Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane voiced fury today, accusing the Malaysian government of "talking nonsense" and launching a cover-up while a rescue could have been carried out.

"Only the Malaysia government knows the truth about Malaysia Airlines. They've been talking nonsense since the beginning," said Wen Wancheng, following a meeting with airline officials in Beijing as the search entered its 10th day.

"You hid the whereabouts from the beginning and after seven to eight days you discovered it That was the best time to launch a rescue," added the 63-year-old from the eastern province of Shandong, whose son was aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

Another relative who left the meeting said: "Of course there is no useful information for us, there never is."

The relatives' anger came as Malaysia drew more scathing criticism from Chinese state media and social media users.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday disclosed that the Malaysia Airlines flight had been deliberately diverted, and that the plane flew for several hours after leaving its intended flight path.

In an editorial, the China Daily newspaper questioned why the announcement came more than a week after the flight vanished and wondered whether Malaysia was sharing all of the information it had gathered.

"The contradictory and piecemeal information Malaysia Airlines and its government have provided has made search efforts difficult and the entire incident even more mysterious," the newspaper wrote.

"What else is known that has not been shared with the world"

Two-thirds of the passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines flight were Chinese, and Beijing has been critical of Malaysia's sharing of information -- a concern reiterated today as fears mounted that the plane might have been hijacked.

"It is of the utmost importance that any loopholes that might have been exploited by hijackers or terrorists be identified as soon as possible because we need counter-measures to plug them," the China Daily wrote.

Yao Shujie, the head of the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham, wrote in an op-ed in China's state-run Global Times newspaper that Malaysia "has lost authority and credibility" due to its chaotic response.

"The lack of national strength and experience in dealing with incidents has left the Malaysian government helpless and exhausted by denying all kinds of rumours about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370," Yao wrote.