Kiwis Right to Be Concerned Over Spy Claims


National Party MP Dr Jian Yang has denied being a Chinese spy after allegations he had studied at an alleged spy school before moving to New Zealand.

"He's functioned appropriately as a member of parliament and there hasn't been a question about his loyalty to New Zealand", he said.

"I have been nothing but upfront and transparent about my education and employment", he said.

The National Party also released a copy of his CV from 2012 which mentioned his time at the Air Force Engineering College and Luoyang PLA University of Foreign Languages.

To have taught at the Air Force Engineering College, Yang would have nearly certainly been an officer in Chinese military intelligence and a member of the Communist Party, Newsroom reported.

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.

DR YANG JIAN, acknowledging that he had taught people who had gone on to become Chinese intelligence officers.

'I challenge those who are propagating these defamatory statements to front up and prove them.

According to the New Zealand Herald the 55-year-old MP rejected the accusations as a racist "smear campaign" targeting him "just because I am Chinese".

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English wouldn't be surprised if Yang was a member of the Chinese Communist Party but this wouldn't worry him. The Newsroom notes that it's "considered unusual for someone with intelligence connections to be allowed to leave China for Australia to study, or to have done so without the backing of the party or PLA".

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

"If you define those cadets or students as spies, yes, then I was teaching spies", he said.

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

However, at a press conference on Wednesday, Yang was forced to admit that while serving as a "civilian officer" paid by the Chinese military he had perhaps taught English to Chinese spies. "I don't think so".

Dr Yang said his students did not do any 'physical spying, like going overseas or these things'.

In an interview with the Financial Times before these revelations were published, Yang confirmed that he attended both military institutions, but urged the researcher not to emphasize his academic background. He migrated to New Zealand to teach global relations in the politics department at the University of Auckland.

In his six years as an MP for New Zealand's ruling National party, Yang has been a vocal supporter of China's Communist party.

"China has been very active in recent years placing and cultivating people at the grassroots political levels of Western democracies and helping them to reach positions of influence", said Mr Christopher Johnson, a former senior China analyst at the US Central Intelligence Agency, according to FT.