A Malaysian Maritime Enforcement officer looks through binoculars during search and rescue operations for flight MH370 as he flies over the waters off the northeastern coast of peninsula Malaysia on Sunday. Photo: AFP/Malaysian Maritime Enforcement
The missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has shocked the world. This is the most sensational and mysterious incident of this kind in recent years. More than half of the passengers were Chinese and we are most concerned about their safety.
Accidents of aircraft usually happen during taking off and landing, and chances are small when they are flying. The missing MH370 took place high in the sky, which makes us doubtful. No matter what the reason, it has influenced the way in which people see air safety.
The Malaysian side cannot shirk its responsibilities. Until yesterday, it could not even ensure accurate information about the passengers. The initial response from Malaysia was not swift enough. There are loopholes in the work of Malaysia Airlines and security authorities. If it is due to a deadly mechanical breakdown or pilot error, then Malaysia Airlines should take the blame. If this is a terrorist attack, then the security check at the Kuala Lumpur airport and on the flight is questionable. If it is due to some natural or uncontrollable factors, all airlines across the world including Malaysia Airlines should draw a lesson.
At press time for this editorial, the flight was still missing. Besides Malaysia and Vietnam, China and the US are also looking for the plane and collecting information. The missing of such a large object shows that there are still blank areas supposed to be covered by information networks.
This accident has unprecedented attention in China. There were 154 Chinese people aboard this flight. As the civil aviation industry has been developing fast, more people choose to travel by air.
Moreover, Malaysia is one of the hottest destinations for Chinese travelers. Care about life has dominated China's public opinion sphere.
The Chinese people value the safety of life. We demand safety of food, air, water as well as transportation. Therefore we pay special attention to the security situation of countries where the Chinese people are keen to travel.
As China boasts a large population, ensuring the safety of all citizens is a huge challenge for the country. China has already topped the world in the number of annual outbound travelers. Any disasters that lead to major casualties may involve Chinese people. As a country stepping into modernity, China faces the task of how to minimize risks.
The accident of the missing MH370 must be investigated thoroughly and the crux of problems on the Malaysian side must be found out.
The route between key cities in Southeast Asia like Kuala Lumpur and Beijing directly involves the safety of Chinese travelers. The accident should be made an example for the whole region.
Time is always needed to investigate an accident. Hopefully the airlines in Southeast Asia will keep a high alert and take people's inquiries into serious consideration. So must airlines in China. Read more in Special Coverage: