Chinese relatives of MH370 passengers refuse to abandon hope

BEIJING (AFP) - The families of Chinese passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines flight insisted that their loved ones could still be alive on Thursday, as Beijing said it was following developments closely.

Australian officials said that two objects possibly related to the search had been spotted by satellite in the remote southern Indian Ocean.

But Mr Wen Wancheng refused to accept the announcement meant he had lost his son, who was a passenger on the flight.

"My son is still alive. My son is still alive," said the 63-year-old from Shandong province. "I don't believe the news."

There are 153 Chinese citizens on board flight MH370, whose relatives have been waiting for news at the Lido hotel in Beijing.

Mr Zhao Chunzeng, who declined to identify his relative on board, said families were seeking a confirmed discovery.

"We are waiting, just waiting and we can't respond to news until it is definitely confirmed," Mr Zhao told AFP.

Asked if he felt that the Australian announcement had greater significance as it came from the prime minister, he said: "Maybe, but we will still have to wait and see."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the government was paying "great attention" to the news from Australia.

"The Chinese side is ready to make relevant arrangements based on the latest updates," he said in a statement, without elaborating.