September 14, 2017 11:12 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

New Zealand MP denies spying for China

New Zealand MP denies spying for China

Chinese-born Jian Yang, 55, an MP for the ruling National party, spent more than a decade teaching at the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute, an elite school for Chinese intelligence officers.

A New Zealand MP has been forced to deny he is a Chinese spy after it was revealed he spent a decade teaching at an espionage school in the Communist country.

China-born Jian Yang, who has been an elected member of the ruling National party for six years, taught at the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute, an elite school for Chinese intelligence officers.

But this information is not recorded anywhere on his official biographies in New Zealand, despite him serving for two years on the committee for foreign affairs, defence and trade.

Jian Yang, a Chinese-born MP for the ruling National party, has denied being a Beijing spy after it was revealed he spent 10 years teaching at an academy for espionage agents

Jian Yang, a Chinese-born MP for the ruling National party, has denied being a Beijing spy after it was revealed he spent 10 years teaching at an academy for espionage agents

It is also concerning because New Zealand is a member of the 'Five Eyes' intelligence sharing alliance, that includes the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia.

The information was uncovered during a joint investigation between the Financial Times and Newsroom, an independent New Zealand-based media group.

 They discovered that Mr Yang first entered the People's Liberation Army in 1978 as an undergraduate in English language studying at the Air Force engineering academy, where he taught after graduation.

He then moved to the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute, which is attached to China's equivalent of the US National Security Agency and trains military intelligence officers and deep cover agents.

Mr Yang, a prominent fundraiser for the Nationals, said the allegations are a smear campaign ahead of the upcoming election

Mr Yang, a prominent fundraiser for the Nationals, said the allegations are a smear campaign ahead of the upcoming election

Peter Mattis, an expert on Chinese intelligence at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington, told the paper: 'Everyone I know who's attended the institute has been in Chinese military intelligence or at least has links to that system.'

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.

After that he went on to work in universities in New Zealand, before making the switch to politics.

During his time with the Nationals he has often advocated for closer links to Beijing, and proposed policies that are in line with China's ruling Communist party.

He is also a prominent fundraiser and has accepted donations from large-spending anonymous individuals, local media reports. 

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

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

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

'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 

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.

Prime Minister Bill English refused to comment on whether New Zealand intelligence services had investigated Jian, but said he was aware of the MP's background. 

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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