New Zealand MP admits teaching Chinese spies

  • New Zealand MP admits teaching Chinese spies

New Zealand MP admits teaching Chinese spies

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.

"If you define those cadets or students as spies, then yes, I was teaching spies", he said. "I just think they are collecting information through communication in China".

National leader Bill English says he was aware early into Dr Yang's political career, which began when he was elected as a list MP in 2011.

"He's functioned appropriately as a member of parliament and there hasn't been a question about his loyalty to New Zealand", English told Radio NZ.

It comes just nine days out from the New Zealand federal election, which will see Mr Yang's leading National Party take on the Labour Party in what is expected to be a close race.

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.

China's foreign minister Geng Shuan has responded to the spy accusations. No information about his Chinese education or military background was included in his official biographies in New Zealand or those published when he was an academic at Auckland university, it 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.

This is likely what has SIS anxious - particularly as New Zealand shares national security information with the four other major anglophone countries (the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Canada), and as Yang had sat on the parliament's select committee for foreign affairs, defense, and trade from 2014 to 2016.

Mr Jian condemned the "defamatory statements" and said he was a proud New Zealander who had been transparent about his background.

"The influence of the government of China is real within the New Zealand government". The Financial Times said the latter institution specialised in training military intelligence officers and deep cover agents.

'I can understand people can be concerned, because they do not understand the Chinese system. "But once they understand the system they should be assured this is nothing, really, to be concerned about".

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

Peters said Chinese interests were "starting to dominate the lives of New Zealanders and clearly our economic direction".