China took the lead to ground Boeing 737 Max. How did it beat FAA?

China's air safety authority was one of the first to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner after the recent devastating Ethiopian Airlines crash. Some have questioned the motivations of China's Civil Aviation Administration. The Boeing plane is, after all, on a list of goods to be purchased should the United States and China agree to end their trade war.

But assume that China's motivations were actually powered by a concern for passenger safety, and the story becomes more interesting. And there might be a moral, too.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'China took the lead to ground Boeing 737 Max. How did it beat FAA?'. Subscribe