National Party MP Jian Yang refutes 'Chinese spy' claim

National Party MP Jian Yang speaking to reporters at a party office in Auckland

National Party leader Bill English has spoken about his list MP Jian Yang, telling media this afternoon he was well aware of Dr Yang's employment and training history in China.

Sources told Newsroom this meant Dr Yang would have been a member of the Communist Party and an officer in the Chinese army's military intelligence. He migrated to New Zealand to teach global relations in the politics department at the University of Auckland.

"From the beginning I made it clear to the party that I have this military background, not only to the party but also to other people", he said. "It's a good cat as long as it catches mice".

A China-born New Zealand lawmaker has been investigated by New Zealand's national intelligence agency for his connection with leading Chinese military colleges.

But Dr Yang says allegations he has been disloyal to New Zealand are defamatory.

The other is the Luoyang Foreign Language Institute in the central province of Henan.

He released a CV which showed he had received a BA in English from the Air Force Engineering school in 1982 and an MA in American studies from the Luoyang school in 1990.

After graduating he stayed on at the institute as a lecturer, teaching English.

"We have to remember this is a New Zealand we are talking about", English said.

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

"I don't think so".

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

He was picked by National Party president Peter Goodfellow to become an MP on its list in 2011, and has been a key fundraiser for the party among the Chinese community in Auckland. "You're making a number of assumptions based on his background and I'd be careful unless you have proof of what you're saying", he told Newsroom.

National Party list MP Jian Yang says allegations he was trained by Chinese spies is a "smear campaign by nameless people" out to damage him and his party before the election.

"He's never tried to hide that background".

Yang confirmed in a recorded interview with the Financial Times that he attended both military institutions.

Dr Yang said his students did not do any 'physical spying, like going overseas or these things'.

Despite this, Yang said many Chinese were choosing to move to New Zealand thanks to its "second-to-none environment, democratic political system, equal economic opportunities and stable society".

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