Ludwig von Gress
Whether it is the Chinese xenophobia or their inferiority complex, they are ever ready to blame everybody else. The Malaysia Airlines’ (a public company) plane goes missing (there were 153 Chinese on board out of 239 people) and the Malaysian government is responsible. Malaysian Embassy in Peking was practically besieged, and when the Ambassador met the demonstrators and relatives he was abused. One angry Chinese demanded he kneels in front of them; he did not. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng met Malaysian Ambassador and demanded Malaysia hand over all information, evidence and the satellite data.
Admittedly, there were strange delays in the release of information by the governments, including the Chinese one. Some could be attributed to ineptitude, some to the reluctance to part with what could be a classified information. No country military wants the world at large to know what they can see and hear. In addition to that we had a great number of red herrings, quite possibly the usual media fabrications.
Well televised protests and exhibitions of the opposite of stiff upper lip sit uneasily beside the Chinese public and medial silence when the Chinese people die in the Chinese mining disasters. Last year, only on official figures, it was 398 people and it is 35 so far this year.
Chinese politburo regards the total number of death sentences as a state secret; but in 2009 the Dui Hua Foundation estimated the number of executions to be 5,000. Whether it is industrial accidents or capital punishment, nobody can accuse the Chinese rulers of being bleeding hearts.
The Chinese enthusiasm for the current search and rescue operations, beside the prestige enhancement of course, may stem from domestic matters, i.e. as something to take attention away from the contracting economy; or there may have been a relative of somebody very important on board, not necessarily under a true name. Or, finally, the Chinese military seized an opportunity to spy.
“A senior Indian defense official told The Wall Street Journal that a Chinese request for ships to search near the Andaman island chain – which is Indian territory – was declined last week over concerns that the operation was a pretext for gathering of intelligence about key defense installations, ‘They can play on emotions and try and get into the area. We have all modern capabilities to look for the plane ourselves if it had crashed in Indian waters’.”
The Chinese Communist Xinhua news agency pronouncements unsurprisingly muddy the waters. At one stage we were told that two navy frigates were already on the scene, which was later amended to two fleets, 2,300 and 3,100 nautical miles away. Last Friday an icebreaker Xue Long (Snow Dragon) was ordered to leave Perth to assist with the search, and so was a naval vessel near Christmas Island (?).
China also despatched two military cargo planes IL-76 which have no specialist maritime search equipment, to RAAF Pearce Air Force Base, though at first the pilots could not find it and landed at the Perth Airport, about 40 kilometres south. However, within a few hours of the proper search take-off, the colonel in charge was able to report floating objects.
It is very likely that China embarked on the intelligence gathering expedition. Or do you believe that the apparatchiks of the party which had killed 77,000,000 of Chinese citizens are suddenly so concerned with the fate of 153?