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Chinese relatives send letter to envoy

By Jin Haixing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-28 08:17
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Chinese relatives send letter to envoy

A relative (center) of a Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 passenger enters a meeting room with volunteers from Malaysia at the Lido Hotel in Beijing on Thursday. Severe weather on Thursday halted an air and sea search for the passenger jet thought to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, frustrating hopes of finding what new satellite images showed could be a large debris field. PHOTO BY KIM KYUNG-HOON / REUTERS

Chinese relatives send letter to envoyThe committee representing relatives of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 filed a petition letter on Thursday asking for help from the Chinese special envoy sent to Malaysia to discuss the disaster.

In the letter, relatives expressed their disappointment with Malaysia Airlines and said they hope they receive support and help from the Chinese government.

Chinese special envoy Zhang Yesui met on Wednesday with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to discuss the flight's disappearance and apparent crashing.

The family-member committee, which was set up to collect questions and appeals from the family members and work as a platform to release news, asked the Chinese government in its letter to create an investigations office to look into the disaster and establish a channel of communications with the committee via telephone, e-mail or social media, according to a copy of the letter provided to China Daily.

It called for authorities to find the truth behind the incident and asked that the investigation continue until the plane's black boxes are discovered.

With the announcement by Najib that the plane had crashed in the southern parts of the Indian Ocean, the committee expressed hope that the Malaysian government will build a monument to honor the passengers aboard flight MH370 in either Perth, Australia, or a nearby region.

The letter requested free air travel for relatives to visit the monument each year.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that officials are now sure the plane crashed in the remote Indian Ocean off Australia and that all 239 people on board are dead.

The letter also asked the Malaysian government to apologize to relatives and explain why it delayed not only its search for the plane but also the release of accurate and timely information into the plane's whereabouts.

The letter also called on the Chinese government to provide free legal assistance to relatives, who are considering filing lawsuits against the airline.

In a separate statement from the committee, it claimed that the special assistance team from Malaysia Airlines stationed at Beijing's Lido Hotel did not show up at the hotel on Wednesday, a day after relatives launched a protest at the Malaysian embassy in the Chinese capital and accused the government in Kuala Lumpur of "cheating" them.

On Thursday, members of the airline's special team resumed their work assisting the relatives. The team is currently working to provide hotel accommodations and travel expenses for the relatives. According to an unnamed airline employee, relatives can choose to stay in Beijing or return to their hometowns.

For each passenger onboard, the airline has vowed to fly two of the passenger's relatives to either Malaysia or Perth. The airline employee did not reveal when the relatives would be sent to Perth or Malaysia.

On Thursday, after a daily briefing at the Lido Hotel, the airline's special team seemed to communicate better with relatives after the committee submitted their questions in writing.

One woman relative asked the airline to provide the name of the manufacturer of the satellite phone used in the missing plane.

"By tracking the records of possible calls made by the plane, maybe we can find some clues," she said.

A member of the airline's special team said it will give them an answer when it is available.

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