MH370: Chinese police raid vigil for missing passengers on six month anniversary

A ceremony marking the six month anniversary of MH370’s disappearance was disrupted by Chinese police

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The Independent Online

Chinese police raided a ceremony in Beijing arranged by the families of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 to mark six months since the plane’s disappearance.

More than 30 relatives congregated outside the Lama Temple on Monday, with one delivering a moving speech about his missing daughter. The tearful event, at which some wore T-shirts that read ‘Pray for MH370 to return home safe and sound,’ was interrupted by seven or eight plainclothes policemen who tried convincing them to leave.

Dai Shuqin, whose sister was on MH370 along with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandchild, said the officers stood in a row to separate reporters from the relatives, and told those attending the ceremony not to enter the temple in a big group.

The vigil went ahead despite police protestations, though families only entered the temple in groups of two or three.

Video: Family members of missing MH370 passengers still search for answers

The jetliner disappeared on 8 March after veering off its northerly course from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing and has become one of aviation's biggest mysteries. It is thought to have crashed about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) off Australia's west coast, but no trace of the aircraft or the 239 people aboard — 153 of whom were Chinese nationals — has been found despite an exhaustive search.

This latest incident of police interference in MH370 protests comes amidst claims that Chinese authorities have been detaining and beating the families of MH370 passengers.

Since the flight's disappearance six months ago, Chinese relatives, frustrated by the lack of answers, have organised sporadic marches and demonstrations. They have also prayed at local temples.

They say they have come under tighter watch by Chinese police, and, in contrast to the massive coverage when the plane went missing, hardly any reporters from domestic media have been present at events organized by the relatives in recent months. Foreign media have also been prevented from filming them praying.

Dai said there was growing anger and dissatisfaction among the relatives toward the Chinese government. She said: "We also feel very helpless ... because we need to rely on the government for their assistance and support and hope they can put pressure on the Malaysian airline to find out the truth.”

It was recently announced that the search for flight MH370 will restart in the coming weeks, with Australian and Malaysian authorities investigation 1,000 possible flight paths and targeting an area of the southern Indian Ocean called the "seventh arc."

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