Less than six months ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first-ever visit to Malaysia to usher in what China’s state media dubbed a “new era” in Sino-Malaysian relations, as the two countries agreed to increase trade and cooperate on everything from agriculture to energy. “It’s a miracle that so many achievements have been made within such a short period of time,” Tan Khai Hee, secretary general of the Malaysia-China Friendship Association, told Xinhua after the October visit.
The short-lived new era between the long-time allies ended abruptly this month, with the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Chinese officials and citizens alike are furious with the Malaysian government over what they see as ineptness and incomplete disclosure over the fate of the Beijing-bound plane that had 154 Chinese citizens aboard. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak finally confirmed late on March 24 that MH370 “ended in the Indian Ocean.”
On March 25, Chinese families of the passengers on the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in the Indian Ocean staged a rare protest march in Beijing that ended in front of the Malaysian Embassy, where they shouted “Liars, tell us the truth.” Protesters numbered in the hundreds, observers said, and were allowed to march and mass in front of the embassy, indicating that their protest was probably sanctioned by the Beijing government.