Best of the Week

Peters won’t let Yang ‘allegations’ slide

Winston Peters’ new kingmaker status may not bode well for National MP Dr Jian Yang, with the NZ First leader continuing to call for an inquiry into Yang’s links to Chinese military intelligence.

Peters said an investigation into Yang would not affect his negotiations with the National on forming a government as Yang “was not the National Party, he is one member of it.”

“Someone has raised some serious allegations, really serious. Those allegations if they’re not true are defamatory and libellous, and I'm not going to let them just slide by no, so I think an inquiry should be held.”

A Newsroom investigation earlier this month revealed that the National MP’s had studied and worked at the Louyang languages school in China’s Henan Province - part of the People’s Liberation Army’s Third Department which spies on foreign countries.

He also attended another PLA institution, the Air Force engineering school, for five years.

At a media conference following Newsroom’s story, Yang admitted he had not declared he had attended the PLA institutions when applying for a visa to enter New Zealand but instead named “partner universities”.

He said that was what the “system” had told him to do.

He also confirmed he had been a member of the Communist Party and a “civilian officer” in the PLA.

Speaking in Dunedin before the election, Peters called for an urgent inquiry into Yang.

The Otago Daily Times reported Peters as saying New Zealand had been caught out and exposed to being a pawn of the communists in China.

"The influence of the Government of China is real within the New Zealand Government. This is not a spy thriller from the airport bookshelves,'' he said to loud applause.

“New Zealand became vulnerable the moment National recruited Dr Yang,” Mr Peters said.

“His decade of work with Chinese military intelligence had only now been opened-up, but not yet laid bare.

"He sat on the influential Parliamentary Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee.

"That made his background working with China's military intelligence for a decade seriously significant.”

Yang says he was never a spy but conceded that the students he taught went on to “collect information” on other countries; “if you define it that way," he acknowledged, “then they were spies.”

Last week, in a statement to Newsroom Yang said all the information he had given to the New Zealand authorities about his previous employment and education was “correct and truthful”.

However, a version of Yang’s citizenship file released under the Official Information Act to Newsroom by the Department of Internal Affairs was heavily redacted, including his workplaces for the previous 10 years at the time of application in 2004.

Labour has not joined Peters’ call for an inquiry and has remained silent on the Yang story.

The party was in Government when Yang was granted residency and later citizenship.

Like Yang, Chinese Labour MP Raymond Huo has been a strong supporter of the communist Chinese government.

Huo raised eyebrows in some parts of the local Chinese community when he began using a quote from Chinese Premier Xi Jinping as the Chinese version of Labour’s campaign slogan “let’s do this.”

Blogger Jichang Lulu referred to Hou’s actions in a recent post:

“In short, Huo chose a phrase that clearly alludes to the personality cult of an authoritarian leader as a campaign slogan for a major political party in a democratic election, and dropped it when he was called out on it. “

Like Yang, Huo is involved in “United Front” activities here in New Zealand.

The United Front is the name of the Chinese body that represents all political parties in China but is controlled by the Communist Party and works on managing relationships with individuals or groups with influence, inside and outside China.

Huo told RNZ in a report on Xi Jinping’s 2014 visit to New Zealand that the Chinese community was “excited about the prospect of China having more influence in New Zealand “

Huo was not an MP at the time but came back into Parliament as a list MP this year when Jacinda Ardern's success in the Mt Albert by-election made her list seat vacant.

Help us create a sustainable future for independent local journalism

As New Zealand moves from crisis to recovery mode the need to support local industry has been brought into sharp relief.

As our journalists work to ask the hard questions about our recovery, we also look to you, our readers for support. Reader donations are critical to what we do. If you can help us, please click the button to ensure we can continue to provide quality independent journalism you can trust.


Newsroom does not allow comments directly on this website. We invite all readers who wish to discuss a story or leave a comment to visit us on Twitter or Facebook. We also welcome your news tips and feedback via email: Thank you.

With thanks to our partners