New Zealand MP admits teaching English to Chinese spies

Elias Hubbard
September 13, 2017

Yang was responding to a report in the Financial Times newspaper that he'd spent a decade training and teaching at elite Chinese military colleges and had been investigated by New Zealand's Security Intelligence Service.

Mr Yang was asked if he was aware while working as a lecturer he was teaching English to people training to be intelligence officers, so they could monitor communications. "My sense is he's never tried to hide that background", Mr English said, as quoted by The New Zealand Herald.

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

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

Asked if he had held any rank in the Chinese army, Dr Yang replied: "I was a civilian officer, paid by the military but I had no ranks, I was a lecturer".

A spokesman for China's ministry of foreign affairs said it did not usually comment on the internal affairs of other countries - but stated "we are firmly opposed to false reports, groundless accusations and falsifications from some media".

A Newsroom investigation had earlier revealed that Yang had trained and then taught at institutions run by the People's Liberation Army for 15 years before emigrating to New Zealand.

"I refute any allegations that question my loyalty to New Zealand", he said in a media statement.

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

Today, English said he would accord with long-standing Prime Ministerial practice and not comment on the operational matters of the NZSIS.

Newsroom is reporting Jian Yang studied at China's top linguistics academy for spies before he moved to New Zealand. It included his time at the engineering university and language institute.

"The National Party either spectacularly failed to check out this candidate, or were totally naïve about what his background meant". His current portfolio covers ethnic communities, and he previously sat on the select committee for foreign affairs, defense and trade.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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