BEIJING - Relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have demanded China mount its own inquiry into the disappearance, a letter shows.
The document, sent to Beijing's special envoy in Kuala Lumpur, denounced Malaysia's handling of the search and asked the Chinese government to set up its own "investigation office".
News of the letter comes as a committee set up by relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers has begun discussions with lawyers about a potential lawsuit against Malaysia Airlines, a move that the family members have hotly debated among themselves.
"We question Malaysia's motivations in misleading and delaying so as to miss the best moment to find MH370," the relatives wrote in the letter to special envoy Zhang Yesui Thursday, blasting Kuala Lumpur's behaviour as "irresponsible" and "inhumane".
"We earnestly request that China establish an investigation office into MH370," the letter states, also urging "an effective communication system between the relatives and the government".
Beijing has urged Kuala Lumpur to include Chinese experts in its own investigation, but has not so far spoken of setting up its own inquiry into the flight.
The letter came days after frustrated family members of the 153 Chinese passengers staged a protest in front of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.
Relatives have also clashed with senior Malaysian officials in briefings at the Lido Hotel in Beijing, with some openly insulting them and accusing Kuala Lumpur of hiding the truth.
The family members' requests to the Malaysian government listed in the letter include an official apology, along with return airfares to Malaysia and the provision of food and accommodation until the resolution of the search, now in its 20th day.
The family members hailed Beijing's efforts but also called for greater support, including legal assistance and the full participation of Chinese authorities in the search.
"Uphold the rights and interests of the people. Do not simply give up," the letter reads. "Exhibit the demeanour of a great nation!"
According to China's official Xinhua news agency, Zhang met family members of the passengers on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur.