New Zealand MP defends teaching English to Chinese spies

Jian Yang

Dr Yang said he had not had any involvement with the Communist Party since leaving China in 1994.

"National List MP Jian Yang has not been transparent about his extensive training and service in China's secret intelligence agencies", says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

The media organisations said he had not disclosed his work as a teacher at China's top linguistics academy for military intelligence officers.

He called himself a victim of a "smear campaign by nameless people" out to damage him and the party just before the Sept 23 general election, which is expected to be a tight race.

FT said he "has consistently pushed for closer ties" with China, and also "for worldwide policies that echoed those of the Chinese Communist Party".

A China-born Member of Parliament in New Zealand has been investigated by the country's national intelligence agency over his decade-long links with elite Chinese military colleges, the Financial Times reported. He also spent time at the Luoyang Language Institute, run by the Third Department, which carries out spying activities for China.

A joint investigation by Newsroom and Hong Kong's Financial Times claims New Zealand's Security Intelligence Service has investigated the Chinese-born MP, including interviewing a person about him previous year.

Yang challenged "those who are propagating these defamatory statements" to front up and prove them.

After graduating he stayed on at the institute as a lecturer, teaching English.

There's no suggestion Dr Yang ever worked as a spy.

He said his students only collected information through communications in China.

Mr Goodfellow said he had "no idea" about any Security Intelligence Service probe, while Mr English did not comment.

"If you define those cadets or students as spies, yes, then I was teaching spies", he said. "You get to know people as MPs and I think from early on I've been aware that he had military training including military intelligence", he said.

The prime minister, Bill English, told reporters he had been aware of Yang's background and did not believe the Chinese politician had tried to hide it.

Despite this, Yang said many Chinese were choosing to move to New Zealand thanks to its "second-to-none environment, democratic political system, equal economic opportunities and stable society".

Bill English no doubt hoped he had heard the last of the issue yesterday after his own press conference declaring his MP not to be a spy, and after Jian's pleading that he was effectively just doing what the Chinese system demanded.

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