Chinese police


The Middle Kingdom’s aggressive and undiplomatic demands for Malaysia to divulge all it knows about Flight MH370 is in stark contrast to its own history of secretiveness and misinformation in the face of disaster, such as after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the earlier Tian An Mein Square massacre of its own citizens in 1989,

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has demanded Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak provide details about the missing flight “in a timely, accurate and comprehensive manner“, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

There has been an unending and incessant stream of scathing editorials in China’s state-run media demanding greater transparency from the Malaysian government and Malaysian Airlines .
“Unless transparency is ensured, the huge international search operation can never be as fruitful as we hope and expect,” Xinhua wrote in one of several commentaries. “When faced with catastrophe, honesty is human beings’ best solution to finding a chance to prevent tragedies happening again,” Xinhua continued.

However, when foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed on Tuesday that Beijing had begun searching for the missing plane in Chinese territory — after stonewalling 24 hours earlier — he declined to give details of China’s search or to provide any information to anyone else especially the Malaysians who were struggling with the situation.

Chinese democracy

Analysts have asked:

When did China begin searching its own territory?”

“Which government agencies were involved?”

“Were any searches being conducted in the restive western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, where satellite data suggests the aircraft could have flown?”

“Was any discovery of debris made or recovered in the south China sea?” ” if there was debris, where was it found by who and where is the debris?” 

“Was the Chinese navy and airforce quizzed about its activities in the south China sea at the time of the aircraft’s last radio contact?”

Hong’s response to these questions was somewhat muted and coy. :”in accordance with the request of the Malaysian side, we have mobilized satellites and radar for search in the northern corridor inside the territory of China”.

China’s ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang told Xinhua that inquiries had found no evidence of terrorist intent among the 153 Chinese passengers on board. But that was not an answer to the many questions put to the Chinese authorities.

Huang declined elaborate his answers conveniently  suggesting instead that because a ‘criminal investigation’ was underway, “the probe into the incident’s cause is not suitable to be conducted in a high-profile way”

His response represented a fundamental  turnaround from the stated Chinese position vis a vis Malaysia and its constant demands that Malaysia provide all the information it had “in an open and timely way“.

Chinese media have been instructed to follow Xinhua’s lead in reporting the incident, according to insiders — a regular occurrence.

The International Federation of Journalists recently said in a statement:

It is deeply regrettable that Chinese authorities continue to use methods such as these to control the flow of much-needed information, particularly for those desperately awaiting updates on the investigation.”

Even when Beijing last week released satellite photographs of three floating objects it claimed could have been from the missing flight, the statement was met with much skepticism by international authorities involved in the search, as the Chinese offered no explanation for the images being made public three days after being taken. Yet they continued to accuse Malaysia of being “not open and honest enough”.

However analysts say that Beijing’s reticence is not surprising, noting that for all countries taking part in the search, geopolitical sensitivities and defence operational matters are as much if not a greater priority than humanitarian considerations. Beijing though sees itself as being above the rule of law and the conventions of international co-operation at such times.

The initial operations in the South China Sea were “a peacetime test of many of the military functions that would be critical in the event of a conflict“, James Brown, a military fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, told AFP.

The militaries in question will have been “closely watching each other’s performance, and wary of exposing any vulnerabilities — to each other, and to their own domestic political audiences“, he added.
However, Beijing also has a long record of covering up any incidents that could be seen as embarrassments for the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Their practice has historically been to tightly restrict information and block any attempts at independent verification. The practice continues unabated.

Chinese campaigners questioning whether corruption was to blame for thousands of children being killed as their schools collapsed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake were met not with answers, but with beatings and arrests. The same response China gave with with the milk adulteration scandal that costs many lives.

Three years on, after 39 people were killed and nearly 200 injured in a deadly high-speed train crash near the eastern city of Wenzhou, Chinese authorities triggered a national outcry when they ordered the wreckage be buried in order to “protect the country’s technological secrets”. Australia and China’s other major trading partners kept silent in the face of such an outrage.


Tian An MEin

More recently, state-controlled media was ordered not to publish independent reports on a fiery October motor vehicle crash in Tiananmen Square or this month’s mass stabbing attack at Kunming train station in which over 200 people were seriously injured and a total of about 50 killed.

These two events were blamed on the Uighur separatist movement who also issued a dire threat to Chinese authorities that for “each one of us you kill we will kill 100 of you”. It seemed logical with the upsurge in Uighur violent agitation aimed at Han Chinese that a red alert would have been sent out by Beijing. It did not. The FBI and Interpol continues to pursue the theory and leads that either China itself or Uighurs could have had a hand in the disappearance of MH 370. But with China’s traditions of secrecy and lack of transparency we may never know the truth.

Plane crashes on Chinese soil have typically been treated by authorities as highly sensitive, with reporters given limited access to the crash sites and, in years past, blocked entirely from reporting on them.

Beijing uses its “state secrets” law to silence dissidents and block the release of unfavourable reports on China’s environmental and other conditions, campaign groups say. However it is not very tolerant of any other state like Malaysia withholding sensitive information that could compromise their state security or sensitive military operational practices.

China engages in a “vague, circular, and overbroad definition of what constitutes a state secret”, which is part of “the policy of information control at the heart of the state secrets system’, according to US-based Human Rights in China.

Chinese Internet users have increasingly criticized the official news agency Xinhua, state broadcaster CCTV and other outlets for failing to produce the kinds of scoops that non-Chinese media have in the 11 days since MH370’s disappearance. As far as China the state is concerned, intimidation of smaller countries and its unilateral interpretation of international and national events is the be all and end all of everything.

4 thoughts on “MH 370: A CHINESE RIGHT TO SILENCE?

  1. Last night, a friend who had served in a Middle Eastern air force said he believes, based upon information he received from sources around the world, that an US AWACS aircraft took remote control of MH370 and flew it like a guided missile and crashed it into a deep ravine in a uninhabited part of the Himalayas, as part of the geostrategic contest between the U.S. and China.

    He also believes that those 20 Freescale engineers on the plane were high-level scientists who had been working on a highly sophisticated, secret device of military importance, the secrets of which the scientists were about to pass to China, so the U.S. decided to bring the plane down, along with all passengers to eliminate these scientists who could have been carrying a sample of this device with them.

    To me, this sounds implausible, since as far as I know, Freescale’s facility in Petaling Jaya, its only one Malaysia, is just a manufacturing and assembly plant for its many semiconductor products, including specialised ones. The Petaling Jaya plant is not known to be an R&D centre where such high-level research is conducted.

    I also understand had undergone training in Petaling Jaya and were enroute to set up similar facilities at its plant in China. Freescale has many facilities around the world and its Petaling Jaya and China facilities are just a few amongst many.

    My friend countered that the high-level R&D scientists amongs tthe 20 could have been carrying a complete sample of this super secret product on the plane, which is possible.

    He believes that this incident is part of a global-level “new Cold War” conflict of global proportions but admits that it’s only a theory, which he can’t prove.

    Once again, I hope SAR efforts will continue to find the plane and get to the bottom of this most unfortunate incident.

    Only then, will justice to those on board and their relatives be served.


    1. One must bear in mind what history has taught us about the super powers and about how human life is a dispensable commodity in their strategic power games. Homi Baba the father of the Indian nuclear programme was killed when his Air India flight mysteriously plunged into the Swiss Alps in the early 1950’s. The wreckage of that plane was only discovered in 2012. It did not stop the Indian nuclear programme but slowed it down.

      On another front to this day the Israelis admit to assassination of Iranian and Iraki nuclear scientists in order to maintain their military and nuclear advantage over their Arab enemies. The AWACS story is a bit far fetched I think. As I have mentioned previously if the US wanted to get rid of a group of scientists or anyone else or gain a strategic advantage with their systems and knowledge over others they could achieve that with a more effective and less sensational method.


    1. It has a lot to do with the choreographed behavior of the “relatives” of the Chinese passengers on MH 370. What’s telling in all of this is that many of the so called “relatives” are not remotely related to the passengers. Outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, there are of duty policemen and local party cadres who have shown up at such events before claiming to be relatives of the passengers. There have been and continue to be organizers in Malaysia aiding and abetting the Chinese visitors in this farce. We are still blocked in mainland China although we do well in Hong Kong and now of course India. India is Boeing’s largest customer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s