BEIJING -- About two dozen Chinese relatives of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on Friday staged a small protest outside China's Foreign Ministry calling on governments to continue searching for the plane.
The relatives gathered outside the ministry in Beijing and demanded to see the foreign minister to submit a petition to him saying that last week's decision to suspend the search was irresponsible.
China, Australia and Malaysia announced last week that the more than two-year-long hunt for the missing flight would be suspended once the current search area in the Indian Ocean has been completely scoured, something expected by the end of the year.
In Beijing, several of the relatives held up hand-written signs calling for the search to be continued and asked to meet Chinese officials involved in last week's decision.
"Since these people spent the money of Chinese tax payers to represent Chinese relatives to attend the meeting, they are obliged to see us," said Jiang Hui, whose mother was on the plane. He said that their request for a meeting had been rejected.
"We will continue to demand the meeting because we want to know the most accurate information of what was going on in that meeting" between Chinese, Australian and Malaysian officials who discussed the fate of the search, he said.
The Boeing 777 vanished on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. It is believed to have turned back west and then south before dropping into the Indian Ocean west of Australia, where the search has been concentrated. Much of what happened to the plane remains a mystery, although many suspect that it was deliberately steered off course.
Officials have said the search, hampered by bad weather and damaged equipment, will end by December.