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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Press worries over missing pilot
Chinese navy helicopter
Over 10,000 servicemen are searching for the missing pilot
The Chinese media have given blanket coverage to the search for missing fighter pilot Wang Wei, and have highlighted the suffering of his wife and family as they wait to hear his fate.

"I am proud of my son. My son made no mistake flying the plane," the China Daily quoted Wang Wei's father as saying, before demanding an apology and compensation from the United States.

Missing pilot's father
Proud of his son

The paper quoted the mother of "outstanding flight squadron captain" Wang Wei saying she sent her son "to defend our motherland."

Speaking through her tears, she told how her neighbours and workmates envied her for having such a good son.

Good student

Now she was angry "about the barbaric acts of US hegemonism".

Wang Wei was not only a good son, but a good student too, according to one of his former teachers, who described him as "a passionate person and the most active student in his class".

"Wang Wei was extremely responsible and always ready to help others," he said.

Sailors
Naval officers have pledged to continue the search

As for the pilot's wife, the China Daily said she "slammed the US government for its lack of conscience".

The paper said she was unable to conceal her anger as she lamented, "The life of Chinese people is as precious as the Americans.

"The US government only care about their pilots but did not say a word about my husband. To me, my husband's life and safety are the most precious.

"America should take all responsibility for this matter and for the fact my husband's missing," she added.

The media have widely reported that Wang Wei's parents have been sent to hospital, and how they are said not to have eaten since hearing that their son was missing.

Rescue efforts

President Jiang Zemin's repeated calls for rescue efforts to be conducted "by all means and at all costs", reflected the anxiety of the entire government for pilot Wang Wei's safety said a commentary in China's army newspaper Jiefangjun Bao.


So long as there is a ray of hope, we will do our level best

Naval commander Rear-Adm Hua Jianrong

It said Wang Wei's plight had touched the hearts of the officers and men of the whole army.

An eyewitness account carried by the state news agency Xinhua, spoke of the hive of activity at a naval port, where scores of military vessels sailed back and forth as the sound of departure and return whistles reverberated through the air.

Sea-sick

Out at sea, sailors were said to be "watching every inch of the sea's surface with radar, sonar, telescopes, eyes and all possible means in order to find their comrade in arms".

And they showed their determination by "staying at their posts in high spirits" despite bad weather conditions making many of them throw up, as the "intense" search and rescue operation continued "from sea to sky and from daylight to darkness".

Navy base commander Rear-Adm Hua Jianrong vowed "so long as there is a ray of hope, we will do our level best."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

06 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Spy plane crew 'in great spirits'
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