New Zealand MP denies spying for China

Alicia Cross
September 15, 2017

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

A bluegrass band warmed-up a crowd of about 200 people in Dunedin before Peters spoke at a public meeting there on Thursday, but it was the New Zealand First leader who had the audience singing from his song sheet.

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

After graduating he stayed on at the institute as a lecturer, teaching English. So I taught all sorts intensive reading, listening, all these things, ' he said.

The intelligence agency said it doesn't comment on specific cases or individuals and Yang said he was not aware of any investigation of him.

Yang said he taught university students English language and American studies, and some of his students were trained to collect, monitor and interpret information.

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

Dr Yang worked as a non-ranking, or civilian, military officer at the universities.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang poured scorn on the article but said China would not comment on other countries' domestic matters.

"I can understand people can be concerned, because they do not understand Chinese system, but once they understand the system they should be assured this is nothing really you should be concerned about".

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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 past year.

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

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.

Winston Peters talks to media about Dr Yang.

"He's never tried to hide that background", English said.

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

Leading Kiwi macroeconomist Rodney Jones says we need to separate the personal controversy surrounding National List MP Dr Jian Yang from the more important discussion - New Zealand's national security and who is suitable to hold office in this country.

He said questions about Yang should be addressed to the New Zealand authorities and that China "upholds the principle of not interfering in others' internal affairs".

"The National Party either spectacularly failed to check out this candidate, or were totally naïve about what his background meant".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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