A photograph of a handwritten note from a passenger on China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735, which crashed in southern China on Monday with 132 people on board, caused an emotional stir in China this week.
The note describes a jade disc, a good-luck pendant that symbolises “peace, luck and safety” in traditional Chinese culture. The note was believed to be written by a female passenger with the surname Xiang, who was in her 20s.
“The jade disc lucky charm symbolises hope for peace in the year, and a long and healthy life,” she wrote.
Xiang was a live-streaming salesperson and was flying to Guangzhou to host an online sales event for jade products.
The note may have been used for studying because, according to jewellery salespeople, the wording is commonly used to sell jade on television and live streams.
One of Xiang’s friends, surnamed Zhao, said that they had realised Xiang might have been on the plane when they heard about the crash.
“We calculated the time of the flight and determined that was the route she took. We started to call her, but she did not pick up,” said Zhao.
According to Zhao, the local police department called Xiang’s parents and informed them that she was a passenger on the plane.
Since the accident, Xiang’s parents have struggled to accept the possibility that their daughter may have died in the crash, and they have been posting messages in the comment section of Xiang’s Douyin account, pleading for their daughter to return.
“They discovered the black box, so my daughter should be found soon. We miss you so so much, our daughter; please return home as quickly as possible,” her parents wrote.
At 1am on the day of the accident, Xiang posted a video on Douyin of herself, smiling, with the English words “love you” written across her face, an online trend in China.
Her videos, which typically featured selfies and encouraging words, were often posted in the early morning after she finished her midnight live-streaming sales sessions.
“She was a very motivated person with a nice personality,” Zhao said.
Xiang’s most recent WeChat Moments post is a brief video she filmed on her way to Changshui airport in Kunming to catch the MU5735 flight.
“What kind of goals are worth pursuing and worth always being on the go?” she wrote, finishing her post with three sun emojis.