NZ MP admits he taught Chinese spies

14 September, 2017, 03:10 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Winston Peters speaks to about 200 people at a campaign meeting in Dunedin

Our support goes out to the National Party MP Jian Yang and his family and we urge the mainstream media take a more reasoned approach when running such stories.

Dr Yang yesterday slammed the allegations, and insisted he had been upfront and transparent about his education and employment, the Associated Press said.

Yang said he was proud to call himself a New Zealander and contribute to his new country.

The Financial Times reports (paywall) that Yang, a man whose background meant that he would not have been able to leave China without the permission of authorities, and who would not have been able to pass a security clearance for non-legislative work in the New Zealand government, has been investigated by the country's Security Intelligence Service (SIS).

Winston Peters enters the Dunedin Centre to give his speech
HAMISH MCNEILLY STUFF Winston Peters enters the Dunedin Centre to give his speech

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 a year ago.

Prime Minister Bill English also weighed in, saying that he had been aware of Yang's background - including previous Communist Party membership - and it had not concerned him. "I challenge those who are propagating these defamatory statements to front up and prove them", the List MP said.

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

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

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"Everyone I know who's attended the Luoyang Foreign Language Institute has been in Chinese military intelligence or at least linked to that system", Peter Mattis, a Jamestown Foundation expert on China's military and intelligence, was quoted as saying.

Yang said he'd taught university students English language and American studies.

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

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

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"I don't think so".

He was picked by National Party president Peter Goodfellow to become an MP on its list in 2011, and has been a key fundraiser for the party among the Chinese community in Auckland.

"By the year of my birth, in 1962, China had wiped out private ownership ... a horrific starvation had just passed with the deaths of millions of people ... by 1978 the Chinese economy was on the verge of collapse".

National list MP Jian Yang beside party leader Bill English with "Blue Dragons" supporters at a party policy launch.

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

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