It's nothing personal - but National MP Dr Jian Yang should resign

15 September, 2017, 00:18 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Nationals MP Jian Yang at Chinese and Korean New Year festivities in the Auckland suburb of Northcote

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).

China-born Jian Yang, who has been an elected member of the ruling National party for six years, taught at the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute, an elite school for Chinese intelligence officers.

"This is a smear campaign by nameless people who are out to damage me and the National Party 10 days from an election, just because I am Chinese", he said in a statement.

In its report, Newsroom said he went to Australia and attended the Australian National University before moving to New Zealand, where he taught global relations at the University of Auckland.

"Once you understand the system and the universities, then I'm not a spy, just a teacher", he said.

English said he had been aware "from early on" that Dr Yang had had "military training, including military intelligence". This is not a spy thriller from the airport bookshelves, " said Mr Peters, campaigning in the southern city of Dunedin today.

"There's an irony to this - this latest link would have come from the Labour Party in response to National's attempt to paint their leader as a socialist activist, something which broke in the last 24 hours". His current portfolio covers ethnic communities, and he previously sat on the select committee for foreign affairs, defense and trade.

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


It is also concerning because New Zealand is a member of the "Five Eyes" intelligence sharing alliance, that includes the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia.

"I refute any allegations that question my loyalty to New Zealand ..."

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.

FT said he majored in English language at the People's Liberation Army Air Force Engineering Academy in 1978, and also taught at the academy after he graduated.

"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.

"There must be proof Dr Yang is not a risk".

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

"We firmly oppose the false reports issued by certain media that make up stories on hearsay evidence or out of thin air", Geng said.

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