China should accept the reality that the missing Malaysian jet had crashed in the Indian Ocean and prepare for funerals, a commentary in state media said on Monday amid protests and accusations by anguished relatives who insist their loved ones could still be alive.
“We should not let anger prevail over facts and rationality. In the process, from the relatives of the victims, public opinion to the government, we need to comply with the fundamental norms of a civilised society and need to show the demeanour of a great power,” the commentary in China Daily said.
“Today no matter how distressed we are and how many details that are not clear, it is certain that flight MH370 crashed in the Indian Ocean and no one on board survived,” said the commentary titled “Treat MMH370 tragedy rationally” while asserting that the Malaysian government has handled the tragedy “clumsily”.
“(What) all the related parties can do is to continue to search for the wreckage, carry on negotiations with the Malaysian side for more information and prepare to make arrangements for funerals,” it said.
The commentary, which is the first of its kind, puts at rest speculation that the outbursts of the passengers’ kin may have official backing and raised apprehensions that it could damage China-Malaysia relations.
It followed highly emotional outpouring by relatives, who formed an association and demonstrated in front of the Malaysian embassy here accusing the Malaysian government of premature announcement that the Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, including 154 Chinese nationals, “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean.
Many of them who demanded evidence went to Kuala Lumpur where they would be given a special briefing by experts to explain to them why they had reached that decision.
“Irrational words and behaviour that runs against the fundamental norms, even if in the name of safeguarding legal rights,” will not help matters.
Instead, they might backfire and even harm the overall situation of national interests, making all Chinese people pay for the tragedy, it said.
Though the Malaysian government’s handling of the crisis has been “quite clumsy”, one has to understand that this is perhaps the most bizarre incident in civil aviation history, it said.
“And confronted with this unprecedented crisis, it is understandable that as a developing country, the Malaysia government felt completely at a loss,” the commentary said.
“Public opinion should not blame the Malaysian authorities for deliberately covering up information in the absence of hard evidence.
Whether by official channels or follow-up civil litigation, we still need to speak with evidence and act according to the law, rather than through “making a noise” or indulging in aggressive or irrational behaviour,” it said.
We should bear in mind that there have been cases where the wreckage of a plane was found only after several years of searching. All parties should strive for the best result, but also need to be prepared for a long search, it said.
The Beijing-bound jetliner had vanished 23 days ago, an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur and crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean.