National MP Jian Yang confirms he taught 'spies' in China, denies he is one

by RNZ / 14 September, 2017

National Party MP Jian Yang speaking to reporters at a party office in Auckland. Photo / Anusha Bradley

National Party MP Jian Yang has confirmed that he has taught 'spies' in China, but denied that he is a spy himself.

A story on the Newsroom website has raised questions about the two-term MP's involvement with Chinese military and intelligence.

It focused on the years Dr Yang spent at educational institutions run by the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese equivalent of America's National Security Agency.

Dr Yang, the National party's sole Chinese MP, said he was a member of the Communist Party while he was in China but hasn't been since he left the country.

He said he is not now, nor has ever been, a spy, and has never had intelligence training.

However, he confirmed he was a civilian officer, paid by the military, to be an English language lecturer.

"From the very beginning I declared to the [National] Party that I have this military background."

However, he admitted he had not included this information in his bio on the National Party website "because things can be more complicated if you don't understand the background".

He said he taught people who then used that language training to monitor communications after graduation.

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

Dr Yang said he was not aware if he had been investigated by New Zealand's Security Intelligence Services, but he had not been questioned by them.

He said he could understand if New Zealanders were concerned about his background, because they did not know the Chinese system.

"But once they understand the system they should be assured that this is nothing really."

Dr Yang said he would be seeking advice about what action he could take over what he described as the defamatory accusation that he is a spy.

And he labelled it a racist smear campaign.

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

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

"I challenge those who are propagating these defamatory statements to front up and prove it."

PM says Dr Yang upfront about military training

National Party leader Bill English said Dr Yang never tried to hide the fact he has had military training, including intelligence training, in China.

"He became a candidate in the 2011 election. The National Party advise me he was quite upfront about his background there.

"Look, I haven't delved in to all the details of his CV, I assume a lot of people in China are members of the Communist Party - it wouldn't surprise me - and if he went to military establishment - I presume it was run by the [People's Liberation Army]."

Mr English refused to say whether New Zealand security services had raised any concerns about Dr Yang, saying it was an operational matter.

"What I can say is the law applies to everybody including MPs and the job of the intelligence agencies is to protect our national security."

And he defended his MP.

"I think we need to be careful here.

"Dr Yang is a New Zealand citizen. The country is happy to have him as a citizen. And he is eligible to sit in the parliament. He's sat in the parliament. And until today, with these assertions, no one has questioned his loyalty in his activities as an MP."

This article was originally published by RNZ.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

When Sir Bob Jones met Muhammad Ali
81845 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Books

When Sir Bob Jones met Muhammad Ali

by Bob Jones

A new biography finds fault with the legendary fighter, but praise wins by a mile.

Read more
Announcing the finalists of the NZ Craft Awards 2017
81876 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Culture

Announcing the finalists of the NZ Craft Awards 20…

by NZTV Craft Awards

The finalists of the New Zealand Craft Awards have been announced and here is the complete list.

Read more
Hand, foot and mouth disease is not nearly as scary it seems
81868 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Health

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not nearly as scar…

by Ruth Nichol

It sounds alarmingly like foot and mouth disease, but all they have in common is they are viral.

Read more
What to do in Auckland if you're a local who wants the tourist experience
81902 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Travel

What to do in Auckland if you're a local who wants…

by Pamela Wade

After living in Auckland for almost 25 years, Pamela Wade decides to reacquaint herself with the city where she still feels like a stranger.

Read more
The Lesley Calvert cold case: 40 years of torment
80160 2017-10-22 00:00:00Z Crime

The Lesley Calvert cold case: 40 years of torment

by Chris Birt

The mum-of-three was found on a hillside in sight of her farmhouse where she'd disappeared 7 months earlier. Suspicions swirled, but no answers found.

Read more
When I went to Rimutaka Prison for a three-course meal
81858 2017-10-22 00:00:00Z Food

When I went to Rimutaka Prison for a three-course …

by Lauraine Jacobs

A three-course meal inside prison walls proves a rewarding experience for food columnist Lauraine Jacobs.

Read more
The Lundy murders: Inside the case that gripped the nation for 17 years
81945 2017-10-21 07:23:00Z Crime

The Lundy murders: Inside the case that gripped th…

by Anne Marie May

A court reporter who's covered both of Mark Lundy's High Court trials looks at how the case has evolved, as the Court of Appeal deliberates his fate.

Read more
The Weinstein scandal is no surprise to this prominent NZ employment lawyer
81809 2017-10-21 00:00:00Z Social issues

The Weinstein scandal is no surprise to this promi…

by Mai Chen

In 25 years of law practice, Mai Chen has helped many women – very often senior employees – who have suffered from sexual harassment.

Read more