Red China: The Great Leap Overboard

In 1958, when Communist China built its biggest freighter, the 11,182-ton ship was christened—naturally—Yueh Chin, or the S.S. Leap Forward. With almost as much fanfare as when she was launched, the Leap Forward sailed from Tsingtao last week with the first cargo shipped from China to Japan since the two countries signed a recent trade agreement ending their five-year official boycott of each other's goods. Then, half way across the East China Sea one afternoon last week, the Leap Forward suddenly radioed for help. Four hours later, the pride of China's merchant fleet lay on the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!