Key Points:

  • Jiang Hui, whose mother was aboard MH370, is leading compensation claims against various companies in a Beijing court, seeking damages for the 2014 disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight.

  • About 40 Chinese families are involved in the legal action, demanding compensation, apologies, and continued search efforts for the missing aircraft.

  • Despite various settlements and legal challenges, the families persist in their quest for truth and closure, with many struggling financially due to the pandemic.

Legal Battle for MH370 Families in Beijing

BEIJING — Nearly a decade since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Jiang Hui, who lost his mother in the tragedy, is at the forefront of a legal battle seeking compensation and answers. A Beijing court is set to hear claims from the families of MH370 passengers, who argue that the disaster not only caused emotional distress but also financial difficulties. The claims, filed against Malaysia Airlines, its insurer, Boeing, and the plane's engine manufacturer, focus on obtaining compensation, formal apologies, and support for continuing the search for the missing aircraft.

These claims, initially filed over seven years ago, include around 40 Chinese families with varying demands. The hearings, expected to last until December 5, represent a crucial moment for these families. Jiang's personal case will be heard on Friday, he informed CNN in an interview. The legal pursuit reflects the families' unwavering determination to uncover the truth about the flight, which carried 153 Chinese nationals among its passengers.

Challenges and Persistence in Seeking Justice

The path to legal redress has been complex, with international companies like Malaysia Airlines, Boeing, and Rolls-Royce being headquartered outside China, though they maintain offices within the country. Similar cases in the United States were dismissed, directing the lawsuits to be handled by the Malaysian legal system. In contrast, a 2014 lawsuit filed in Malaysia by two boys who lost their father on the flight was settled out of court the following year.

In China, families who accepted a settlement from Malaysian Airlines received 2.5 million yuan ($350,000) in compensation. Initially, few families signed the agreement, but the number increased over time, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. As of March 2021, about half of the 90 families who had declined to settle changed their decision due to economic hardships exacerbated by the pandemic. Now, only about 40 families have not settled, standing firm in their refusal to absolve the airline and Malaysian government of responsibility.

Jiang's tireless efforts exemplify the emotional toll and determination of these families. Once a successful manager, Jiang left his job to devote himself to finding the plane and his mother. He has traveled to Australia, Mauritius, Madagascar, and Réunion, participating in searches and connecting with other families affected by the tragedy. His journey symbolizes a deeper understanding of life's meaning and the pursuit of something more fulfilling than professional success.

The disappearance of MH370 remains shrouded in mystery, with various theories and a lack of conclusive evidence. Some families still hold hope that their loved ones are alive. Debris found on islands in the Indian Ocean and African shores suggests the plane broke up, but the aircraft itself has never been located. Jiang's commitment to finding the plane is driven by his desire to honor his mother, reflecting a profound sense of filial duty and the quest for closure in one of aviation's most enduring mysteries.