China's one-child policy, enacted in 1979, has undoubtedly changed Chinese society. Whether for better -- curbing population growth in a country with dire resource limitations -- or for worse -- creating a generation of "Little Emperors" who are doted on by two generations of extended family -- remains a debate that may never been settled. Of course, there are places where this debate can both be stimulating and appropriate. In the context of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is not one of those places.
On April 14, New York Times reporters Kirk Semple and Eric Schmitt published an article titled “China’s Actions in Hunt for Jet Are Seen as Hurting as Much as Helping" that quoted two government officials -- one from the US and one from Malaysia, both unnamed -- who said China has not, to put it nicely, contributed much to the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. It was a disturbing piece, not least because it seemed to signal the search may have entered a new phase in which the frustrations and difficulties of finding the missing jet could spill into finger-pointing and politics.
The latest update on still-missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 -- New York Times: "China’s Actions in Hunt for Jet Are Seen as Hurting as Much as Helping" -- puts the attention on China's naval incompetence and prestige hunting. Apparently good intentions don't get you good press. I read the Times's article while slowly shaking my head at the entirety of the MH370 situation/mess. Then I came to this quote:
In a televised statement on Monday at Lido Hotel in Beijing, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which has now been missing for 18 days, likely "ended in the southern Indian Ocean." After his statement, family and friends of MH370 passengers were reportedly notified by text that "none of those on board have survived."
Memetjan Abla, a painter, teacher, husband and father, known for his subtle use of color in his elegant portraits of Uyghur urban life, was lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. He was 35.
Those who live and work around Chaoyangmen in Beijing have noticed a recent addition to the neighborhood. Above the Burger King at U-Town Mall, a huge purple banner has been erected that reads, in Chinese, "Time Since Losing Contact," a reference to the number of hours that have passed since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.