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Chinese relatives flock to Malaysia

Last updated 20:34 30/03/2014

Relatives of Chinese passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have flown to Kuala Lumpur for more information from the Malaysian authorities. Sarah Toms reports.

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Rather than descending on Perth to be closer to the search for the missing Flight MH370, dozens of Chinese relatives of those on board the plane have flown to Kuala Lumpur to remonstrate with the Malaysian government.

"We have demanded that we meet with the prime minister and the transportation minister," Wang Chunjiang, whose younger brother was on Flight 370, told the BBC.

"We have questions that we would like to ask them in person."

One representative of the families' organising committee, who only wanted to be identified by his surname Jiang, told Fairfax Media that 35 family members arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday morning, with more from Beijing to follow.

He said Malaysia Airlines arranged the family members to fly to Kuala Lumpur at their request.

"We want evidence, we want the truth, and we want our relatives," Mr Jiang, whose mother was on board the plane, said via telephone from Kuala Lumpur. "In Beijing, we aren't getting any information."

The Boeing jet disappeared on March 8 with 239 on board, including 153 Chinese nationals and six Australians.

The Malaysian government has come under strong criticism from China, home to more than 150 of the passengers, with its government and state-run media helping to fan negative sentiment and suspicion against the Malaysian-led investigation.

Relatives of the missing have accused the government of "delays and deception", and tensions remain high after families clashed with police as they tried to storm the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on Tuesday.

A smaller, peaceful protest was staged on Saturday outside the Lido Hotel in Beijing, where families have been staying for the past three weeks, and where daily information updates have been held by Malaysian officials.

"You have seen that the next of kin are united, Chinese people are united," Mr Jiang told the Malaysian delegation after families walked-out of a briefing on Friday, leaving red-faced officials talking to an empty room. "The facts which you have been concealing or trying to conceal will ultimately see the light of day. There will certainly be people who receive their due punishment because of this."

"We have got nothing to hide," a Malaysian official responded. "We are telling you what we can tell you."

Another family representative, Steve Wang, said relatives would not go to Perth unless conclusive physical evidence of the plane's wreckage was recovered.

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- Fairfax Media

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