The citizenship application file of the National MP who taught English to spies has been released - but key information about whether he disclosed this when moving to New Zealand has been withheld.

In Jian Yang's citizenship file, he promises "not to act in any way that is against the interests of New Zealand".

But that's almost all that can be made out in the file released by the Department of Internal Affairs through the Official Information Act.

The response - made well inside the 20 days limits - came after it was revealed Yang did not disclose the military universities at which he had taught in China.

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Yang studied and taught at the Air Force Engineering University or Luoyang People's Liberation Army University of Foreign Languages.

Instead, on CVs he said he used the names of "partner" universities to the military institutions where he taught trainee intelligence officers as an English lecturer.

In his citizenship application Yang only cites his post-graduate qualifications obtained through the Australian National University in Canberra.

A spokesman for Internal Affairs said that section of the application was intended to solicit evidence applicants could speak reasonably good English.

"It is not intended as a full education summary," the spokesman said.

It was a disclosure that came with claims the NZ Security Intelligence Service had investigated him as recently as 2016 - the same year in which his term on the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade committee came to an end.

Internal Affairs, responding to an Official Information Act request, released Yang's file with large chunks blacked out. It said the information released was the "full extent" of information held about Yang's citizenship application.

Heavily redacted information on an old passport photograph in National MP Jian Yang's citizenship file. Photo / Supplied
Heavily redacted information on an old passport photograph in National MP Jian Yang's citizenship file. Photo / Supplied

Among the redactions is Yang's response to the question: "Who have you worked for in New Zealand and overseas in the last 10 years?"

Another redacted answer responded to the question "Have you ever received a benefit, allowance or compensation from a government department or agency?"

The NZ Herald has made an urgent request for the Office of the Ombudsman to review the redactions.

More redacted information in National MP Jian Yang's citizenship file. Photo / Supplied
More redacted information in National MP Jian Yang's citizenship file. Photo / Supplied

The citizenship application shows Yang was granted New Zealand citizenship on June 14, 2004.

In one section, the person applying for citizenship is asked what the privileges and responsibilities of New Zealand citizenship are.

Yang responded: "To obey and promote the laws of New Zealand. Not to act in any way that is against the interests of New Zealand. Foreign travel and freedom to return on a full New Zealand passport. Full economic rights."

The application ends with a sworn declaration, signed by Yang, that he "solemnly and sincerely declare that I believe the facts in this application are correct and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true".

Yang has said naming the "partnership" universities was not a false declaration and was required if he was to leave China.

"It is not a false declaration. When I left China I was asked by the system to use my partnership universities. That is why I used those universities in applying for jobs, even [at] the University of Auckland.

"That's my CV. It is not that I am deliberately trying to cover up. It's because the system asked me to use the partner university. That is the reason.

More redactions in National MP Jian Yang's citizenship file. Photo / Supplied
More redactions in National MP Jian Yang's citizenship file. Photo / Supplied

"When I left China I was told, basically, 'use your partnership university'. And I did that. And ever since then, I stick with my partner university.

"It was over 20 years ago ... they asked the military - people working in the military or studying in the military - when they leave China [to] use your partnership university. So
that's what we did."

Yang has said the revelations about his background by the Newsroom website was defamatory and a smear campaign. Newsroom reported the NZSIS has scrutinised Yang over three years and had carried out interviews about the MP last year.

Yang said he had never spoken to the NZSIS and wasn't aware of any inquiries. For the record, he said he had never been a spy and the implication he had been was defamatory.

He said he had been transparent about his past with the National Party and it was widely known in the Chinese community.

Yang said the military institutions he attended taught English, and not intelligence training. He was a civilian officer in the military without ranking.

He was asked if he was aware that while working as a lecturer he was teaching English to people training to be intelligence officers, so they could monitor communications.

"If you define those cadets or students as spies, yes, then I was teaching spies. If that is the case. I don't think so [they were spies]. I just think they are collecting information through communication in China. If you define that way, then they were spies. But for us, it was just collecting information."

Yang moved to New Zealand in 1999 and taught international relations at the University of Auckland. He entered Parliament in 2011.

Prime Minister Bill English has said he knew of Yang's background. "You get to know people as MPs and I think from early on I've been aware that he had military training including military intelligence."