By any definition, this is bizarre. But I’m actually rather surprised it doesn’t happen more often. We place our lives in the hands of two total strangers every time we board an aircraft. They sit up there behind a locked, armored door. Whatever they want to do, they’ll do. Who knows if the airlines vet their people well? Seeing as how governments can’t vet people for critical security clearances properly, I guarantee you the airlines are making a hash of it too.
Yet ultimately in the grand scheme of Asia, I think this says more about China. This morning the Chinese People’s Armed Police allowed the families of the Chinese passengers to march on the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing. I say allowed because the Armed Police don’t let anybody demonstrate anywhere in these numbers without either their approval or a barrage of rubber bullets. They also allowed the families past their riot line, but blocked journalists from following, a further indication that this protest is endorsed by the Chinese government.
What do they want Malaysia to do? A crazy man, in my opinion the co-pilot although I don’t know what I’m talking about, decided to crash an airplane. It’s a horrible, senseless act of murder. And certainly the Malaysian authorities have made a hash of providing accurate, timely information to the families. Yet is that a reason to bully Malaysia with several weeks’ worth of public statements admonishing it for a not well executed response. Did I mention this is bizarre? Any country would have a hard time getting this done right. Get off their backs, please.
The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister offered this helpful advice, “We demand the Malaysian side state the detailed evidence that leads them to this judgment, as well as supply all the relevant information and evidence about the satellite data analysis.” This is a government that wants to show they don’t trust anybody, anywhere to tell the truth. China will look out for Chinese citizens alone. We the benevolent Communist Party are in charge of Chinese everywhere, and Asia too, please don’t forget. Down with you British satellite company, we’ll do it ourselves.
There were 152 Chinese aboard, but there were 87 others too. Everybody else seems to be capable of assisting and investigating the crash without resulting to criminal accusations of “murder” and generally just losing their shit.
You can’t really blame the families too much, although I suspect men in suits have enabled their anger. To me, this shows a Chinese government committed to a policy of bullying neighbors as if the Empire’s back to life. To China, Malaysia lost an aircraft, and must be made to respond, be held accountable, and generally do as China says. Period. Nobody’s going to say this right now because they’re focused on the aircraft. Rightly so. But there’s still a gang outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing today. It shouldn’t be there. Period.
Even the death of 152 of my citizens is no reason not to remind a continent that I’m in charge now.