Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Chinese netizens mourn Asiana crash victims

By Alexis Lai, CNN
updated 8:24 PM EDT, Mon July 8, 2013
  • Chinese netizens pour out condolences for Asiana plane crash victims
  • Sole casualties of plane crash were two Chinese schoolgirls
  • Crash remained one of top trending topics on Twitter-like weibo platforms on Monday

(CNN) -- With sympathy, grief and some outrage, Chinese netizens expressed their condolences over the deaths of two Chinese schoolgirls in Saturday's crash landing of an Asiana Airlines flight at San Francisco International Airport.

Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, both 16, are the sole casualties of the ill-fated flight carrying 307 passengers and crew. They were part of a group of 35 teachers and students from a middle school in the eastern Chinese city of Jiangshan traveling to California for a summer camp program.

The crash remained one of the top trending topics on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Monday, garnering over 1.7 million posts with the hashtag "Boeing 777 crash." It was also the leading topic on Tencent Weibo, with over 240,000 posts.

Video shows plane's moment of impact
Social media in aftermath of plane crash
Flight 214's communications revealed
Survivor: I thought 'I'm dying'

"May you rest in peace in Heaven. God will forever be with you," wrote user HaiDianYuAiLiSi, one of thousands of netizens who took to weibo platforms to express sadness over the loss of two promising young lives. Many attached photos of lit candles or appended their posts with candle icons in a symbolic vigil to honor the two girls.

"These kids were so young. Their families are so pitiful," wrote user JinShuRenDouFuNao, echoing broad sympathy for the victims' parents. Some netizens also hit out at China's one-child policy for leaving the parents bereft of surviving children.

"Now that the child is gone, her parents' last hope is also gone. It's really heartbreaking. If they had two or three children, it would at least be a bit better for her parents," wrote user BianBaXianK.

An official apology posted by Asiana on Sina Weibo sparked a debate over the qualifications of the pilot, with rumors rapidly spreading among Sina Weibo users that the plane was flown by an "intern."

"Can an apology be exchanged for two lives? Asking interns to operate long-distance flights shows a complete disregard for human life. Even though tickets are cheap, you cannot treat people's lives like a joke," wrote user Kazumi Wawa.

Asiana has announced that while the pilot was making his first landing with a Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport, it was not his first time flying to San Francisco. He has clocked 43 hours flying a Boeing 777 and piloted a total of about 10,000 hours, the airline said.

As is often the case with social media, a handful of netizens displayed cavalier indifference to the victims, branding the girls overprivileged to be able to afford summer camp in the United States.

A user named Yellow Submarine, who identified himself as a classmate of the victims, rallied, saying the trip "was not a situation involving study abroad ambitions of wealthy people."

'Oh, Lord have mercy': Witness captures fatal jet crash

"Jiangshan is a third-tier city with relatively low consumption levels and my classmates' backgrounds were not as privileged as some netizens think," he added.

Chinese citizens comprised 141 of the 291 passengers onboard the flight.

Chinese president Xi Jinping expressed his condolences Sunday to all passengers and urged the Chinese Foreign Ministry as well as the Chinese consulates in San Francisco and South Korea to provide them with proper support, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Meanwhile, those watching from afar continue to express their sympathies. "Life is so fragile, lovely girls who quickly came and went," wrote user Sinjin. "You took with you your parents' hopes. How can your parents continue on?"

CNN's Feng Ke and Meng Meng contributed to this report

Part of complete coverage on
Asiana Flight 214 crash
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Pilots botched the approach and landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco nearly a year ago, causing a crash that killed three people and injured 187 others, investigators concluded.
updated 2:09 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
The National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing to determine the cause of the 2013 Asiana Flight 214 plane crash.
updated 1:36 PM EST, Sun January 19, 2014
A group of passengers who were aboard an Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed has sued aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Sun October 20, 2013
The firefighter who accidentally ran over and killed a 16-year-old girl who survived the crash will not be charged in the case.
updated 6:29 AM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to assist families following the crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco in July.
updated 5:43 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
The two teen girls were close friends, each looking forward to a summer trip to California to improve their English.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
After 10 long hours in the sky, the Jang children couldn't wait to get off the plane.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
I didn't expect my 5-year-old daughter to first learn about airplane crashes while we were in the air.
updated 6:42 AM EDT, Fri July 12, 2013
Shortly after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco, passengers and witnesses pleaded with 911 responders to send help -- some frantically, some insistently.
Here's what we know about the crash landing, told through animation and graphics.
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
As a plume of black smoke billowed from Asiana Airlines flight 214 after it crash landed, images were captured of passengers collecting their carry-on items before evacuating.
updated 3:46 PM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
Inside the cockpit of the Airbus A380 at Le Bourget airport on June 12, 2005.
Pilots will need more cockpit training to become fully certified first officers for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines.
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
Veteran flight attendant Lee Yoon Hye sensed something was awry as Flight 214 neared the San Francisco International Airport runway.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
As Asiana Airlines Flight 214 flew into San Francisco, the Boeing 777's 219 passengers didn't know that the man at the controls had never landed this kind of plane at this airport before.
updated 9:51 AM EDT, Mon July 8, 2013
"Look at that one -- look at how his nose is up in the air."
updated 8:41 PM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
Of the 307 people on board, only two are confirmed dead.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
Nearly three hours after the crash, David Eun walked through customs at San Francisco International Airport. By then, the adrenaline rush was subsiding enough that he could begin processing the enormity of it all.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri July 19, 2013
Photos from the scene show a trail of debris down the runway and people waiting for their loved ones.
updated 8:19 PM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
Asiana Airlines had coped with a pair of deadly crashes over the past 20 years before a Boeing 777 crash landed in San Francisco and burst into flames on Saturday.