BEIJING: Family members of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are still seeking answers and closure six months after the plane´s disappearance.
But at an emotional gathering in Beijing on Monday, relatives´ sorrow was mixed with fierce resentment of Chinese authorities who they feel have turned against them after dozens of family members were reportedly beaten and arrested in recent months.
Chinese passengers account for about two-thirds of the 239 people aboard the Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
About 30 of their relatives gathered at Beijing´s Lama Temple, a popular Tibetan Buddhist site, to vent their frustration and pray for the missing on a day that marks both the six-month anniversary of the flight´s disappearance as well as China´s traditional Mid-Autumn Festival, a day for families to reunite.
“In China, today is Family Reunion Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival,” said a 55-year-old woman who gave only her surname, Zhang, and whose daughter was aboard the flight. “Every day is torture, but today we´re suffering even more,” added Zhang, who is from the far northeastern city of Harbin but has been staying in Beijing since the plane´s disappearance.
“I´m calling on the kind people of the world to hurry up and rescue my child,” said another woman, who declined to give her name. “Rescue my child. We can´t live on.”
’We are in limbo’
In Malaysia, relatives of the missing also expressed anger and frustration at the uncertainty.
Selamat Umar, 60, whose son Mohamad Khairul Amri was onboard the ill-fated airliner, said he held special prayers attended by about 100 people Sunday for “Allah to protect my son and bring him back”.
“It is breaking my heart that we still do not have any information about MH370,” he said.
“There is no peace of mind for me at all,” he said. “We want to know where are our loved ones.”
Jacquita Gonzales, 52, the wife of inflight supervisor Patrick Gomes, said it was “daily torture for us not knowing where they are”.
“Six months on we are no closer to the truth, we are no closer to any closure. We are in limbo,” she said.
“A lot of people say, ´It´s been six months. It´s time to move on.´ But I can´t. How do you expect me to move on?”