MH370: Did the L.A. Times get fooled by Tianya forum?

| March 20th, 2014

The Los Angeles Times reported that the stolen passports used by two passengers on the plane were used to apply for work permits in China, but is that really true?

The LA Times bases its story on the claim by Xie Zhuoling, who works for a company that recruits foreign performers for entertainment purposes in bars and hotels. He raised his claims on the Chinese forum Tianya, where he posted a photo of a purported employment agreement with Christian Kozel and Luigi Maraldi, who were listed on the flight manifest because two Iranian men boarded with their passports.

On Tianya, he said:

“A few days ago my company discovered a contract signed with a foreigner (My company’s juridical person already stamped it). The person who signed it for my company has later disappeared! After comparing information online, I became suspicious that it has something to do with the mysterious passport used on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight! Please everyone share so that the relevant departments can pay attention and investigate. I hope to provide clues in the search for the missing plane.”

He said he had faxed the contract to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs but hadn’t heard back from them.

The agreement says it was signed by his party, Ninxia Yihai Shengshi Cultural and Entertainment Company (宁夏艺海盛世文化传媒公司), on June 8, 2013, and the work period is listed as being from February 15, 2014 to May 14, 2014.
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However, a reporter with Ningxi News found a few reasons to be skeptical of Xie Zhuoling’s claims. The agreement lists both people on one form, but it doesn’t list any party recruiting the individuals. Furthermore, he also posted an image of the tickets for the flight to Beijing, but he had conflicting stories about where the image came from. The image was circulated by CNN on March 9, and Xie’s first post was on March 14, but Xie is quoted as having said that he got the tickets from China Southern Airlines.

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Ninxia News’s reporter wrote:

The reporter saw, although the agreement had written on it, foreign cooperation agreement, the foreign employees are just invited workers, not first parties to the agreement, but in fact the first party has to go through a foreign entertainment company to contact foreign employees and invited them. The words “foreign cooperation agreement” are irrelevant, and from start to finish there was no first party company or organization named. In response, many netizens questioned the authenticity of the document and had strong doubts.

  记者看到,该协议虽然写着外籍合作协议,可协议里的外籍人员只是受邀演员,并不是协议的甲方,而甲方其实是通过涉外传媒公司联系外籍人员来宁演出的邀约方。“外籍合作协议”与协议内容文不对题,且协议从始至终都没有提甲方是哪个公司或团体。对此,许多网友跟帖质疑该帖的真实性,并认为疑点重重。

User “柒妙忆” questioned: “Even if the first party isn’t a company but a private person, [even if] the two parties requested don’t print the name, leave it blank and fill it in by hand, why is there just a second party and no first party?” User “蜀于秋池” said: “The relationship of the two parties in the agreement is muddled. The provisions over the performance fees paid are a mess. Even if this agreement were just a cover, would it have this many mistakes? Or perhaps the “juridical person” the poster mentioned has only graduated elementary school?”

  网友“柒妙忆”质疑:“就算其中一方不是公司是私人,双方要求不打印抬头,名字也该留空白,手填,为什么抬头直接只有乙方,连个甲方都没有?”网友“蜀于秋池”说:“协议里甲乙双方关系一片混乱,演出费用支付那几个条款乱七八糟。就算这份协议只是个幌子,也不会这么错误百出吧?或者楼主口中的这个‘法人代表’根本就是小学毕业?”

On March 18, the reporter interviewed Xie Zhuoling. To the question of the source of the online transportation eticket and the agreement, Xie Zhuoling said he found the airplane ticket himself on the internet. That answer is obviously different than what he told other netizens that “Southern Airlines gave it to him.”

  3月18日,记者采访了谢卓凌。对于上传网络的航空运输电子客票,以及这份协议的来源,谢卓凌说,航空运输电子客票是自己从网上找来的。这与他告知网友是“南航给的”显然不一致。

A purported QQ chat transcript posted by another Tianya user, in which Xie claims to have received the tickets from Southern Airlines:
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A previous version of this story had been written that tied Xie’s claims together with other outrageous claims about the reason for the flight’s disappearance, but this story was updated for relevancy.

1 Comment | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. voiceofhomer says:

    What the hell all the bars and clubs are owned or somehow run by foreign black pimps or drug dealers and they hire expats that are not what we here would call entertainers.

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