When Companies Leak

Is China's military the biggest winner from the boom in trade with U.S. technology firms?

The launch of Loral's Intelsat 708 communications satellite in Sichuan province in February 1996 was a fiery disaster. The Chinese-made Long March rocket that was supposed to propel the American satellite into space crashed into a hillside 22 sec. after lift-off and exploded, raining flaming rocket fuel and red-hot shards of the 3-ton satellite on a nearby village. China initially said six villagers choked or burned to death, and later upped the number to 56, but U.S. estimates put the fatalities closer to 100.

Loral's ill-fated launch may also have caused collateral damage of a different kind. In the wake of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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