Xinhua Abandons Search for Japanese Link to Missing Plane

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BEIJING — After spending weeks combing through official reports, attending press conferences and interviewing aviation insiders, Xinhua has officially called off the search for a Japanese link to the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

On Friday morning, Beijing bureau chief Qian Congmin convened the agency’s top news editors for a special meeting, where he announced that they should “abandon the search for Japanese involvement in this tragedy,” adding that “in all likelihood, the blood of these innocent victims will never conclusively be on Japan’s hands.”

Later that afternoon, Qian met with a gathering of friends and family members of the missing passengers. Fighting back tears, Qian told his audience that “in our darkest times, we’ve always found solace in casting blame upon the Evil Empire of Japan. But in this case, my colleagues and I were unable to establish even a tenuous link between the airplane and the Abe administration.”

“Perhaps this time we’ll have to settle with blaming Malaysia.”

He continued, “Unlike cut-and-dry tragedies like the Nanking Massacre, Mukden Incident and the Great Leap Forward, if the Japanese were indeed involved in the disappearance of MH370, they have covered their tracks so well that even our greatest journalists are unable to uncover them.”

Qian told the crowd that if and when the airplane was found, “you must all prepare yourselves for the likelihood that no Japanese people were to blame for this tragedy.”

Despite Xinhua’s announcement, other news services in China have refused to abandon the search, with many accusing Xinhua of giving up too easily when there remains a slim chance that Tokyo is somehow behind all of this.

“While defeatists have begun to accept the disappearance of MH370 as a shocking and meaningless loss of life,” wrote Global Times columnist Dong Fanghong. “We at the Global Times will never abandon the belief that any tragedy, no matter how ostensibly unrelated to Japan, can be exploited for jingoistic purposes.”

“So long as tragedies continue to happen, we will continue to blame outside forces,” Dong continued. “Perhaps this time it won’t be Japan; perhaps this time we’ll have to settle with blaming Malaysia.”

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