New Zealand MP de­nies spy­ing for China

The Phnom Penh Post - - WORLD -

A NEW Zealand law­maker re­ceived mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence train­ing in China, it emerged yes­ter­day, but he de­nied al­le­ga­tions of be­ing a Bei­jing spy, say­ing he was the vic­tim of a racist smear cam­paign.

China-born MP Jian Yang was the sub­ject of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by New Zealand’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vices over his links to an elite Chi­nese spy school, ac­cord­ing to a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Fi­nan­cial Times and news­room.co.nz.

The me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions said Jian, who was elected to par­lia­ment in 2011, had not dis­closed his back­ground as a teacher at China’s top lin­guis­tics academy for mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers.

New Zealand is a mem­ber of the “Five Eyes” in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing net­work, which also in­cludes the United States, Bri­tain, Canada and Aus­tralia.

The FT said no other Western na­tion was known to have a sit­ting MP with such ex­ten­sive links to China’s in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.

The rev­e­la­tion “raises ques­tions about Western pre­pared­ness to deal with China’s in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive ef­forts to in­flu­ence for­eign gov­ern­ments and spy on them”, said the news­pa­per.

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

He also ques­tioned the tim­ing of the al­le­ga­tions ahead of a Septem­ber 23 elec­tion, in which his rul­ing Na­tional Party is in a tight race to re­tain power.

“This is a smear cam­paign by name­less peo­ple who are out to dam­age me and the Na­tional Party 10 days from an elec­tion, just be­cause I am Chi­nese,” he said in a state­ment.

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

But he said Jian had never tried to hide that he had had in­tel­li­gence train­ing in China, say­ing that it did not bring his loy- alty to New Zealand into ques­tion.

“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.

Fol­low­ing the re­ports, the Na­tional Party re­leased a re­sume sub­mit­ted by Yang in 2012 that listed the Chi­nese govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions he had sup­pos­edly tried to keep se­cret.

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”.

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