New Zealand investigates politician who previously taught Chinese spies

Yang and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff at Chinese and Korean New Year festivities in Northcote

He said some of his students were trained to collect, monitor and interpret information.

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.

Leading Kiwi macroeconomist Rodney Jones says National list MP Dr Yang, once part of the Chinese military and Communist Party, has to resign.

While there is no word on the outcome of this investigation - Newsroom reports that SIS has "scrutinized him at times over three years, including interviewing one person about him last year" - the case unleashed a stream of polarized reactions. "If you define it that way, then they are spies".

China's foreign minister Geng Shuan has responded to the spy accusations.

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. This is not a spy thriller from the airport bookshelves, " said Mr Peters, campaigning in the southern city of Dunedin today.

"We firmly oppose the false reports issued by certain media that make up stories on hearsay evidence or out of thin air", Geng said.

'I have been nothing but upfront and transparent about my education and employment, ' he said. He served on the parliamentary select committee for foreign affairs, defence and trade from October 2014 until March a year ago.

A bluegrass band warmed-up a crowd of about 200 people in Dunedin before Peters spoke at a public meeting there on Thursday, but it was the New Zealand First leader who had the audience singing from his song sheet.

Mr Yang visiting China for a gala luncheon with Li Keqiang, the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, in March.

Yang said he had been a student and teacher at the Air Force Engineering College and at the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute. The newspaper said the school specialised in training both "openly acknowledged military intelligence officers and "secret line" deep cover agents".

"I can understand [how] people can be concerned because they don't understand the Chinese system". "But once they understand the system, they should be assured that this is nothing, really, you should be concerned about". "Although I was not born here I am proud to call myself a New Zealander, obey our laws and contribute to this country", he told a press conference.

According to stuff.co.nz, New Zealand's biggest news website, Yang admitted that as a lecturer he had taught students how to intercept and decipher communications but not to engage in "the physical act of spying".

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