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Press statement on Straits Times’ Chief China correspondent Ching Cheong

SINGAPORE, 31 MAY 2005 - In response to media queries on the statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry that Straits Times’ chief China correspondent Ching Cheong, who is being detained by security authorities in Beijing, has been a spy for foreign agencies, Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes The Straits Times, issued the following statement:

"We are shocked by this new accusation. As we have stated in our press statements, we have no cause to doubt that in all the years that Ching Cheong has worked with us, he has conducted himself with the utmost professionalism.

"Until we see incontrovertible evidence, we stand by our belief that he has always acted in the best interests of The Straits Times."

The China-born veteran writer is a holder of a British national (overseas) passport and a Singapore permanent resident. He joined The Straits Times in 1996 as a senior leader/feature writer before becoming Senior Correspondent, based in Taiwan and later Hong Kong. He was promoted to Chief China Correspondent in 2004. In the past nine years, he has reported and filed analyses on the cross-strait situation, Sino-US relations and Hong Kong’s political and economic issues.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E

For more infomation, please contact:

Irene Ngoo
Vice President
Corporate Relations
DID: 65-6319 1216
FAX: 65-6319 8150

About Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and more than 70 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy over 250 million pageviews a month. SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free newspaper Today. It also operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.