Published: Fri, September 15, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

New Zealand investigates politician who previously taught Chinese spies

New Zealand investigates politician who previously taught Chinese spies

It is alleged that Jian Yang was investigated by New Zealand's intelligence services for his links to Chinese military academies, but the 55-year-old claims he has been racially targeted.

Prime Minister Bill English refused to comment on whether New Zealand intelligence services had investigated Jian.

Mr Jones says there is no place in a New Zealand parliament, let alone a government, for a man who was once a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

But Yang rejected any suggestion he was trained by Chinese spies, or was once a spy himself, calling such allegations a "smear campaign by nameless people".

It was common for Chinese people living in New Zealand to have some form of military background, Yang said on Wednesday.

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

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.

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

He said he had been upfront and transparent about his education and employment and was the victim of a smear campaign 10 days before a general election.

"I don't care if it is a white cat or a black cat", the National party legislator said. He served on the parliamentary select committee for foreign affairs, defence and trade from October 2014 until March a year ago.

News outlets and opposition politicians in New Zealand pounced on Yang's admission that he "was teaching spies" how to parse English communications at the Luoyang Foreign Language Institute, with many arguing that the fact this was not widely known until now is a major scandal.

Dr Yang said his students did not do any 'physical spying, like going overseas or these things'. The newspaper said the school specialised in training both "openly acknowledged military intelligence officers and "secret line" deep cover agents".

"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.

'Although I was not born here, I am proud to call myself a New Zealander, obey our laws, and contribute to this country'.

Dr Yang told reporters he had never been a spy, but acknowledged teaching people who went on to be intelligence officers, FT reported.

He also used the opportunity to lash out at Chinese ownership in New Zealand, including Silver Fern Farms, which has its headquarters in Dunedin.

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