US spying claims hit satellite launch firm

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 August, 1999, 12:00am

The firm that launches foreign satellites on mainland rockets has lost millions of dollars in business and had its launches halved because of American allegations of Chinese spying, its president said yesterday.

Zhang Xinxia said since China Great Wall Industry Corporation launched its first foreign satellite in April 1990, it had sent 25 into orbit, 24 of them American.

Since the United States Congress commissioned the Cox Report into espionage allegations in April last year, no American firm had signed a new contract with Great Wall, Mr Zhang said.

Last year, Great Wall launched six rockets and this year it has launched two, putting satellites into orbit for US firm Motorola. For the rest of the year, Great Wall plans to launch just one more.

The Cox Report, compiled by Congressman Christopher Cox, accused China of stealing American nuclear and space technology. Beijing says it did not steal anything.

Mr Zhang said Great Wall's New York office had provided all information requested for a US Justice Department investigation.

He said: 'The [Cox] report has caused us great difficulties. Last year, I gave a press conference in Los Angeles but only two reporters from the English language media came. People think we Chinese can do nothing. So if we do something, we must have obtained the technology by stealing and spying.'