However, the people of China are demanding that the gift be canceled in protest of the Malaysian government’s handling of the downed & missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. There were exactly 153 Chinese citizens who likely lost their lives when the plane went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The people of China believe that the Malaysian government is somehow culpable. The grieving families of the victims are regularly featured in news outlets across the country and their grief is felt by tens of millions. However unrealistic it may be for Malaysia to offer an acceptable explanation that will account for the victims in the absence of the flight recorder or other physical evidence from the plane, the Chinese people are demanding the panda gift be revoked.
It is interesting that in a nation which still does not recognize the inalienable right of free speech, the people are going against ruling Communist Party in Beijing by demanding the pandas not be turned over to Malaysia. Usually, criticism of Beijing’s policies results in “unfortunate” machete accidents to reporters and newspaper editors alike. The pandas are meant to celebrate forty years of diplomatic ties between these two nations.