Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Families of passengers on missing flight MH370 threaten hunger strike

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2014, 11:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2014, 11:32pm

Furious Chinese families threatened to go on hunger strike yesterday until the Malaysian government tells them the truth about the fate of their relatives on board flight MH370.

Hundreds of family members were last night still waiting for information in a Beijing hotel. Of the 239 passengers and crew on the plane, 154 were Chinese.

Families vented their pain and anger on Chinese representatives sent by the airline to meet them and demanded to see the Malaysian ambassador. "What we want is the truth. Don't let them become victims of politics.

"No matter what political party you are, no matter how much power you have, if there isn't life, what's the point? Where is compassion?" asked one middle-aged woman.

What we want is the truth. Don’t let them become victims of politics

"You're always going back and forth. I think your government knows in their heart why we want you to answer us. Because you're always tricking us, telling us lies," added one man.

China has repeatedly called on the Malaysian side to do a better job at looking after the relatives of the Chinese passengers and to provide them with updated information.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing: "China has all along demanded that the Malaysian side and Malaysia Airlines earnestly respond to the reasonable requests of the Chinese families."

Watch: Chinese MH370 relatives threaten 'hunger strike'

The Chinese representative from the airline said what information the families received was beyond his control. He said: "I can accept the criticisms and mistakes. But the problem is that we have no way to access some information. From my position, I really cannot access it. So I beg for your forgiveness."

As the representatives left, families shouted after them, chanting slogans and waving their fists in the air. Speaking to reporters, a woman who had led the chanting held up a piece of paper with slogans written on it and said the families were calling for a hunger strike.

"Respect life, return our relatives. Can everyone read it? Can everyone read it?" she asked.

"We're going on hunger strike. I'm representing," she said. "The families are on the point of collapse. There are so many families coming and going.

"Some have already left. The young people can stand it, but the elderly have already broken down."

It was not clear how many of the relatives would join the hunger strike, or if it had even begun.