New Zealand MP admits teaching Chinese spies

Yang and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff at Chinese and Korean New Year festivities in Northcote

DR YANG JIAN, acknowledging that he had taught people who had gone on to become Chinese intelligence officers.

While there is no word on the outcome of this investigation - Newsroom reports that SIS has "scrutinized him at times over three years, including interviewing one person about him last year" - the case unleashed a stream of polarized reactions.

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.

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

"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. So I taught all sorts intensive reading, listening, all these things, ' he said.

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

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

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", he said according to a Newshub report. This is not a spy thriller from the airport bookshelves, " said Mr Peters, campaigning in the southern city of Dunedin today.

A China-born Member of Parliament in New Zealand has been investigated by the country's national intelligence agency over his decade-long links with elite Chinese military colleges, the Financial Times reported.

Leading Kiwi macroeconomist Rodney Jones says National list MP Dr Yang, once part of the Chinese military and Communist Party, has to resign.

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

Mr Yang left the institute in 1989, and the Times says it is unclear what he did until leaving China to study at the Australian National University in Canberra in 1994.

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.

"The National Party advised me he was quite up front about his background there". "[But] I don't think [they were spies] ..."



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