Jian Yang (politician)

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Jian Yang

Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for National party list
Assumed office
26 November 2011
Personal details
Born1961/1962 (age 56–57)
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyNational
Other political
Communist Party of China[1]

Jian Yang (Chinese name: 杨健, Yáng Jiàn) is a New Zealand Chinese international relations academic, politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Party.

Early life[edit]

Yang grew up in Jiangxi Province in southern China. He earned his MA and PhD in international relations from the Australian National University.[2]

In 1999 Yang joined the University of Auckland as a Senior Lecturer in Political Studies.[3] He was granted New Zealand citizenship on 14 June 2004.[4]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2011–2014 50th List 36 National
2014–2017 51st List 33 National
2017–present 52nd List 33 National

Yang was ranked at 36 on the National Party list for the 2011 New Zealand general election. He was the highest ranked new candidate on the list and was seen as a replacement for Pansy Wong, a Chinese MP who had resigned since the previous election.[2]

Spy allegations[edit]

On 13 September 2017 accusations were raised in the media that Yang taught English to Chinese spies in the 1980s and 1990s.[5] Yang admitted he had a background as a civilian, or non-ranking, officer in the Chinese military. In response to the accusations, the National Party released a copy of Yang's CV from 2012, which mentioned his time at the Air Force Engineering College and Luoyang People's Liberation Army University of Foreign Languages.[1] The Financial Times says the Foreign Languages Institute is part of China's military intelligence apparatus run by the People's Liberation Army, training linguists to intercept foreign communications. It was also reported that Yang attracted the attention of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service three years prior to these revelations.[6] Yang was a lecturer at the Foreign Language Institute and his immigration file shows he taught the English language and American studies. Yang claimed he taught his students to simply monitor communications, rather than carry out "the physical act of spying".[1] He conceded he could be seen as having taught spies.[7] The New Zealand Herald later reported that Yang did not disclose his links to the schools in his citizenship applications and instead substituted "partner" universities.[4][8]

Yang also confirmed that he had been a member of the Communist Party of China but claimed to be inactive since moving to New Zealand in 1994.[1][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "National MP Jian Yang taught English to Chinese spies but was not a spy himself". Stuff.co.nz. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017. I was a civilian officer, paid by the military but I had no rank. I was a lecturer.
  2. ^ a b Looking beyond the 'token' tag New Zealand Herald, 2 November 2011
  3. ^ Faculty of Arts – Arts Faculty Office Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine artsfaculty.auckland.ac.nz
  4. ^ a b Fisher, David; Nippert, Matt (21 September 2017). "Revealed: The citizenship file of spy trainer turned National MP Jian Yang". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  5. ^ Graham-McLay, Charlotte (4 October 2017). "A New Zealand Lawmaker's Spy-Linked Past Raises Alarms on China's Reach". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  6. ^ Jennings, Mark (13 September 2017). "National MP trained by Chinese spies". Newsroom. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  7. ^ Nippert, Matt (30 October 2017). "Three unanswered questions about our spy-trainer MP". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  8. ^ Nippert, Matt (12 October 2017). "Jian Yang didn't disclose Chinese intelligence connections in citizenship application". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  9. ^ Schmitz, Rob (2 October 2018). "Australia And New Zealand Are Ground Zero For Chinese Influence". NPR. Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2019.

External links[edit]