Chinese Flight 370 Families Attend Prayer Service

Pray for Malaysia Flight 370
Pray for Malaysia Flight 370

Chinese families of passengers on Flight 370 joined a large prayer service here on Sunday to acknowledge the tragedy.

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“Pray for MH370″ drew about 3,000 people and 16 relatives with loved ones on the missing jet. The service was in Mandarin.

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The event began with Buddhist hymns performed by a choir made up of adults and children.

“By the power of our immense merit accumulated this morning through our collective good thoughts and pure aspiration prayers, we dedicate these merits to all passengers on MH370,” one monk said at the service.

When chanting began, Flight 370 families were seen with hands clasped in prayer and joining in the chanting. Some had their eyes closed, others bowed their heads.

The families were kept away from the media by organizers.

The prayer service was led by the Veneral Jit Heng, president of Malaysian Buddhist Association.

Roughly 100 Buddhists monks participated in the tribute to the 239 passengers and crew on the flight, which went missing more than four weeks ago.

The event was organized by the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a political party in the ruling National Front Coalition government.

Liow Tiong Lai, the group’s president, said the Chinese families delayed their return to China to attend. He spoke with several family members and said they were “more calm now.” The possibility that Chinese boats detected the plane’s pings came up. But Mr. Liow said he reminded families to await verification.

“We have not found bodies. Therefore this prayer session is for blessings and peace of mind,” Mr. Liow told The Wall Street Journal before the service.

Mr. Liow said he hoped the service showed Malaysia’s pain and support for the Chinese families. China had by far more people on the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing than any other nation.

“[The families] know we have done our best,” he said. “So they prefer to wait for news in their hometown. Now they have confidence in us that we will reveal the truth at the earliest possible moment.”

In his remarks at the event, which he delivered in Chinese, Mr. Liow said, “In facing this crisis, we do not blame each other. We do not shirk responsibility. We do not back down and we do not give up.”


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