Simon Bridges’ trip to China last year has attracted more attention with recent news that MFAT was not consulted on the trip and of even greater concern that the trip was organised by National MP Jian Yang.
When I look through past posts I see that Yang has featured in a number of them. News broke during the 2017 election campaign that he taught in a Chinese University that concentrated on training Chinese spies and that he was investigated by the SIS for his Chinese Government links. He has admitted that he did teach English to students in China so they could monitor communications and collect information.
His background was not mentioned in his residence application.
Matt Nippert obtained his application for residency and reported this:
Documents released under the Official Information Act (OIA) also show less than a year after leaving China in 1994 he was working at the Australian Parliament on the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The documents were released this afternoon, on the eve of Winston Peter’s announcement of the formation of a new government, following OIA requests made last month by the Herald.
Yang moved to New Zealand in 1999, becoming a lecturer in political science at the University of Auckland, then entering Parliament on the National Party’s list in 2014. He re-entered Parliament at the recent general election after being placed 33rd on the party’s list.
The documents show Yang referred to his work and study history in China – 15 years in total from 1978 – as solely with “Luoyang University”.
It has subsequently been revealed Yang graduated with an undergraduate degree from military-linked institutions the People’s Liberation Army Air Force Engineering Academy, and later lectured at the elite spy school the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute.
Yang wanted to help with SIS recruitment and lobbied ministers in a bid to overturn a national security block on a China-born job applicant taking up a sensitive position in the defence force. He was for a while a member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee. There are major issues in relation to both his application for residency and his involvement in New Zealand’s government.
But National has been strong supporters of Yang which is not surprising given that they think two Chinese MPs are more valuable than two Indian MPs. And what has happened to the Serious Fraud investigation into the partitioning of a $100,000 donation to hide its source?
So there is some explaining for National to do with recent revelations that Yang organised Bridges trip last year and that MFAT offered to assist but this offer was not accepted. From Harrison Christian in Stuff:
Bridges was criticised for praising the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in an interview on Chinese state television during the five-day trip in September.
He also came under scrutiny for meeting the person in charge of the country’s secret police, at a time when the CCP was detaining more than a million Uighur Muslims.
Yang’s status and seniority in Chinese circles is evident. Bridges met with Guo Shengkun, head of China’s secret police.
A privilege to be at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to meet with Guo Shengkun to discuss the many areas our countries have in common and how we can strengthen ties. pic.twitter.com/HpX5yNaI2s— Simon Bridges (@simonjbridges) September 6, 2019
Helen Clark has raised questions about the lack of MFAT involvement in the trip.
When I was NZ Leader of Opposition, provision was made for an annual overseas mission, always organised through @MFATgovtNZ, one assumes because of the potential for impact on NZ foreign relations. Surprising that that practice hasn't been adhered to here: https://t.co/MwbhWoQVSi— Helen Clark (@HelenClarkNZ) January 5, 2020
It will be interesting to see where this goes. And what happens to the Serious Fraud Office investigation.