New Zealand


In March 2017, during the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to New Zealand, a senior Chinese diplomat favorably compared New Zealand-China relations to the level of closeness China had with Albania in the early 1960s. It was a startling and telling analogy, one which disconcerted New Zealand diplomats. In the Cold War years, Albania was the proxy for the global power struggle between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). As the Sino-Soviet split deepened in the early 1960s, Albania became estranged from the Soviet Union. Despite ideological differences with the policies of Mao Zedong, the government of Enver Hoxha was economically and politically dependent on the PRC. The China-Albania relationship had a negative impact on Albania politics, bolstering Hoxha’s power and isolating the nation from other partners. In the late 1970s the close relationship ruptured over China’s failure to deliver economic development assistance and an ideological split. By the end of the Cold War era, Albania had become one of the poorest, most politically divided, and most corrupt of the former Eastern Bloc states.1

Those who know their Cold War history will remember that New Zealand also had an outlier experience with China in those years. The Communist Party of New Zealand (CPNZ) was the only Western communist party to take the Chinese Communist Party (CPC)’s side in the Sino-Soviet split. Like the Communist Party of Albania, the CPNZ was later riven by ideological divides and became a spent force, after their protector, the CCP, engaged in massive economic reforms that did not match Marxist ideals.2 This is why, when senior Chinese diplomats mention New Zealand and Albania in the same sentence, New Zealand needs to pay attention. New Zealand—along with Albania in the current era and a host of other countries3—is being targeted by a concerted political interference campaign by the PRC. China’s foreign influence activities are part of a global strategy with long-standing parallels.

The impact of Beijing’s political influence activities on New Zealand democracy has been profound: a curtailing of freedom of speech, religion, and association for the ethnic Chinese community; a silencing of debates on China in the wider public sphere; and a corrupting influence on the political system through the blurring of personal, political, and economic interests. China did not have to pressure New Zealand to accept China’s political influence activities: successive New Zealand governments actively courted it. New Zealand governments had also encouraged China to be active in New Zealand’s region, from the island nations of the South Pacific to Antarctica.

China’s political influence activities in New Zealand hit the headlines in September 2017 when an investigative report by Newsroom and the Financial Times broke the news that a New Zealand government MP, Yang Jian, had worked in Chinese military intelligence for 15 years.4 Soon after, my research paper, “Magic Weapons: China’s Political Influence Activities under Xi Jinping” was made public and it fed into the zeitgeist,5 arousing intense international interest on how New Zealand would handle this challenge.6 In New Zealand, unlike Australia, the topic of China’s expanded influence activities had not previously been raised publicly—although New Zealand intelligence officials did discuss concerns about these activities at a Five Eyes meeting in June 2017.7  

New Zealand is now the canary in the coalmine for many other small states seeking to find a means to respond to China’s increased political influence activities. Small states can have a disproportionate effect on global politics and they are more readily affected by global shifts in power. Small states are unable to protect themselves militarily or economically against larger powers and tend to seek shelter with one or other great power. New Zealand and Albania are two of many small states that have sought shelter in military alliances with the United States while turning to China for economic support and opportunities.

But the balancing act is getting more and more difficult. While the USA has been consumed by the daily drama of the Trump presidency, Xi Jinping has been emboldened to announce China’s global leadership ambitions and is pursuing an increasingly assertive foreign policy, insisting that its strategic partners such as New Zealand and Albania fall into line with its interests and policies. Accompanying the more assertive foreign policy has been a massive increase in the CCP’s foreign influence activities, what it refers to as “united front work.”

Why New Zealand is a Target for China’s Political Influence Activities

New Zealand is of interest to China for a number of reasons, ranging from security links to access to Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the UKUSA intelligence agreement, the Five Power Defence Arrangement, and the unofficial ABCA grouping of militaries, as well as a NATO partner state. Extricating New Zealand from these military groupings and away from its traditional partners, or at least getting New Zealand to agree to stop spying on China for the Five Eyes, would be a major coup for the Xi government. New Zealand’s economic, political, and military relationship with China is seen by Beijing as a model to Australia, the small island nations in the South Pacific, and more broadly, other Western states. New Zealand is valuable to China as a soft underbelly through which to access Five Eyes intelligence. New Zealand is also a potential strategic site for the PLA-Navy’s Southern Hemisphere naval facilities and a future Beidou-2 ground station—there are already several of these in Antarctica.

In addition, the New Zealand government is responsible for the defense and foreign affairs not only of New Zealand, but also of three territories in the South Pacific: the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau, which means four potential votes for China at international fora. New Zealand has developed a shameful reputation as a hotspot for global money laundering.8 The Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau are also well-known money laundering nations. New Zealand has cheap arable land and a sparse population, and China seeks access to foreign arable land to improve its food safety.9 New Zealand supplies 24 percent of China’s foreign milk, and China is the biggest foreign investor in New Zealand’s dairy sector.10 New Zealand is useful for near-space research; an important new area of weapons research for the PLA.11 New Zealand has unexplored oil and gas resources, and China is expanding its offshore oil and gas exploration. New Zealand has expertise in multilateral trade negotiations, Pacific affairs, Antarctic science, and horticultural science which is useful to China.

All of these reasons make New Zealand of considerable interest to China. China is also of considerable interest to New Zealand. China is New Zealand’s second largest overall trading partner and largest market for tourism and milk products—New Zealand’s top two economic sectors. New Zealand signed a Comprehensive Cooperative Relationship Agreement with China in 2003 and a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2014. During the 2008-2017 National government New Zealand expanded relations with China well beyond trade: finance, telecommunications, forestry, food safety and security, education, science and technology, tourism, climate change and Antarctic cooperation, and military cooperation. In contrast, the Trump presidency has not ratified the TPP, which New Zealand helped to set up. Successive US presidencies have refused to sign an FTA with New Zealand—many believe in punishment for New Zealand’s 1987 anti-nuclear legislation.

China’s Political Influence Activities in New Zealand

Managing the Overseas Chinese community in New Zealand

Since 1989, the PRC government has steadily expanded its controls and influence over the 60 million ethnic Chinese population living outside China, in order to prevent them supporting or nurturing dissidents and critical perspectives on PRC politics. There are around 200,000 ethnic Chinese resident in New Zealand, out of a population of 4.5 million New Zealanders. Chinese consular authorities keep a close eye on all Chinese community activities. They have achieved this through links with core pro-Beijing Chinese community groups, and by maintaining oversight over other Chinese community groups, ethnic Chinese political figures, and Chinese language media and schools in New Zealand. As in other nations, the ethnic Chinese permanent residents and citizens of New Zealand are a very diverse group; not all are Han Chinese, not all are originally from the PRC. Many come from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, or elsewhere, their families may have emigrated to New Zealand before 1949, and many of those who did originally migrate from the PRC left there to escape the politics. But if they wish to be part of a Chinese-speaking environment in New Zealand, then they have to put up with China’s guiding of political activities within the ethnic Chinese community and tightened censorship on China-related political issues in New Zealand’s Chinese language media.

Beijing-supported united front groups in New Zealand are generally organizations that group people according to their place of origin; along professional lines; or else in interest groups such as the New Zealand China Charity Association.12 Some of the united front-related groups may only have 5 or 6 members. From the participants’ point of view, the connection with the PRC embassy can bring benefits such as prestige and business opportunities. The PRC representatives prioritize a few core organizations and encourage the formation of Chinese community centers to link groups together.13

The organization most closely connected with the PRC authorities in New Zealand is the Peaceful Reunification of China Association of New Zealand (PRCANZ, 新西兰中国和平统一促进会) founded in 2000.14 It reports to the United Front Work Department of the CCP Central Committee. The organization engages in a range of activities that support Chinese foreign policy goals, including block-voting and fund-raising for ethnic Chinese political candidates who agree to support their organization’s agenda. When Chinese senior leaders visit New Zealand, it is organizations such as PRCANZ which organize counter-protest groups to shout down pro-Falun gong, pro-Tibet, or any other group critical of China.15 As in many other countries, each university campus in New Zealand has a Chinese Student and Scholars Association, which is the main channel by which the Chinese authorities guide ethnic students and academics. The New Zealand Chinese Student and Scholars Association is "under the correct guidance" of PRC representatives in New Zealand.16

An important Xi era policy on overseas Chinese network is to encourage the Chinese diaspora to become more active in the politics of their host countries. The numbers of ethnic Chinese candidates at local and national elections in New Zealand is growing, and this is a very natural and positive development for the New Zealand Chinese community. However Chinese political leaders in New Zealand come under pressure from PRC diplomats to conform to, and work for, Chinese government policy. Since 2007 the New Zealand Electoral Commission has compiled an annual report on political donations over NZ$1,500 to political parties and candidates. From 2007-2017 the National Party received NZ$1.36 million of its publicly known donations from Chinese entrepreneurs with close political connections to the CCP or China’s united front organizations. In contrast, the New Zealand Labour Party received NZ$83,000 from such individuals; and only in 2007 when still in government. It should be noted that these figures vastly underestimate the full amount of political donations in New Zealand and their sources, as the present electoral financing legislation excludes the need to report the source of donations given via charity events and auctions. In 2017, 83% of the National Party’s donations and 81% of Labour’s were received anonymously through such exclusions.

New Zealand currently has two ethnic Chinese MPs in Parliament, both are list MPs, meaning that they do not represent an electorate, but were elected based on the numbers of votes their political party achieved in the national election. In 2011, former University of Auckland political studies lecturer Yang Jian杨健was shoulder-tapped to enter Parliament because, he was told, “National needs the Chinese vote.”17 At the time of entering parliament in 2012, Yang already had a profile in the ethnic Chinese community due to his community activities. From 2006 Yang had also been involved in New Zealand’s Track 2 diplomacy. Before emigrating, Yang Jian worked for 15 years in China’s military intelligence sector, which he has admitted he concealed on his New Zealand permanent residency application and job applications in New Zealand,18 as well as his public profile in New Zealand—at least in English sources.19 Yang told journalists that he is a CCP member—though insisted he had not been an active member since he left China in 1994.20 This means that Yang Jian is simultaneously both a member of the CCP, and the New Zealand National Party, but currently, there is no legislation in New Zealand which prohibits an MP from belonging to both foreign and domestic political parties.

Yang Jian entered the PLA-Air Force Engineering College to study English in 1978; he taught at the same college for five years after graduation, trained at the People’s Liberation Army Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute for his first Master’s degree, studied for a year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for US-China Studies at Nanjing University, and after that, from 1990 to 1993, taught English to students at the Luoyang Foreign Languages Institute who were studying to intercept and decipher foreign governments and other targeted English language communications.21 In 1994 Yang Jian moved to Australia to study for his second Master’s in International Relations and then a PhD at the Australian National University. He was chairman of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association in Canberra for many years; and after he moved to Auckland, he took on leadership roles in overseas Chinese activities there too.22

Since he entered Parliament, Yang has been a central figure promoting and helping to shape the National Party’s China strategy and has been in charge of their engagement with the New Zealand Chinese community. He is also the party’s main organizer and fundraiser among the Chinese community. From 2014-2016, Yang Jian was a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. Yang accompanied New Zealand prime minister John Key and his successor Bill English on trips to China and in meetings with senior Chinese leaders when they visited New Zealand. This role would have given him privileged access to New Zealand’s China policy briefing notes and positions. Despite the furore caused by the public revelations about his 15 years working in military intelligence in China, Yang was returned to parliament after New Zealand’s 2017 election and has taken on the portfolios of statistics and shadow associate minister for ethnic affairs, which means that he is still the National Party’s liaison for dealing with the New Zealand Chinese community.

The Labour Party’s ethnic Chinese MP Raymond Huo, 霍建强, also works very publicly with China’s united front organizations in New Zealand and promotes their policies in English and Chinese.23 Huo was a member of Parliament from 2008 to 2014, then returned to Parliament again in 2017 when a list position became vacant. In 2009, at a meeting organized by the Peaceful Reunification of China Association of New Zealand to celebrate Tibetan Serf Liberation Day, Huo said that as a “person from China” (中国人) he would promote China’s Tibet policies to the Parliament.24 In 2014, at a meeting to discuss promotion of Chinese Language Week, Huo said, "Advisors from Chinese communities will be duly appointed with close consultation with the Chinese diplomats and community leaders."25 Huo also has close contacts with the Zhi Gong Party 致公党 (one of the eight minor parties under the control of the United Front Work Department, which has the task of liaising with overseas Chinese communities.)26 In 2014, when asked about the issue of Chinese political influence in New Zealand, Huo told RNZ National, "Generally the Chinese community is excited about the prospect of China having more influence in New Zealand” and added, “many Chinese community members told him a powerful China meant a backer, either psychologically or in the real sense."27

Co-opting foreigners to support and promote CCP’s foreign policy goals 

The CCP’s foreign affairs work has always aimed to co-opt foreigners with access to political power to support China’s foreign policy agenda.28 But now the focus is on using foreign political leaders and foreign companies to advance both economic and political relations.29 Former National Party leader, Don Brash, chairs the Industrial Bank of China in New Zealand; former National MPs Ruth Richardson and Chris Tremain are on the board of the Bank of China in New Zealand; and former prime minister Dame Jenny Shipley chairs the China Construction Bank (New Zealand) and was on the board of the China Construction Bank for six years. Shipley is also chair of the Oravida board, which is owned by a prominent Chinese donor to the National Party with United Front connections to the CCP.30 National MP Judith Collins’ husband David Wong-Tung was on the Oravida board for 5 years.31

Local governments and politicians are also important points of influence because they are able to make planning decisions on the kind of infrastructure projects China wants to establish in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Sir Bob Harvey, former mayor of Waitakere, heads the New Zealand One Belt One Road Promotional Council which is acting as a matchmaker on infrastructure projects in Auckland. The former mayor of Christchurch, Sir Bob Parker is the chairman of Xindu Group, a partnership with Huadu Construction for infrastructure projects in Christchurch. Huadu Construction is a Hebei-based former state-owned enterprise.

Sister city relations between New Zealand and China have expanded in recent years. The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC, Youxie, 友协)—a united front organization—is in charge of sister city relations. Since 2015, CPAFFC has run an annual China-New Zealand mayoral forum.32 In 2012, a wealthy Chinese property developer with close connections to the Chinese government, Simon Deng Li,33 donated 1 million yuan to the New Zealand China Friendship Society to enable it to expand its activities.34 In the same year CPAFFC donated a further 1 million yuan.35 The society has used the two donations to subsidize New Zealand journalist and youth visits to China, as well as art exhibitions, book publications, and other activities that promote a non-critical view of China in New Zealand.

China is using mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships with foreign companies, universities, and research centers in order to acquire local identities that enhance influence activities and access to military technology, commercial secrets, and other strategic information. New Zealand is useful for near-space research; which is an important new area of research for the PLA as it expands its long range precision missiles, as well as having civilian applications. In 2015 Kuangchi Science signed an agreement with Airways New Zealand and Shanghai Pengxin International to launch a near-space balloon on one of their dairy farms in New Zealand for data transmission.36 In 2013 Huawei was contracted by New Zealand’s Telecom to build the country’s 4G network. Huawei established a major stake in the New Zealand telecommunications market as the main financial backer of start-up 2degrees in 2011.37 In 2017 Huawei Technologies signed a partnership with Victoria University of Wellington and Lincoln University.38 Huawei has promised to spend NZ$400 million to build a cloud data center and innovation labs in Christchurch and Wellington and is building data capacity well in excess of its needs for the project.39 Several other New Zealand universities are also involved in military-related research projects with PLA universities in China on projects such as AI and quantum computing.

China’s global, multi-platform, strategic communication strategy

In June 2017, at the Langham Hotel in Auckland, China’s State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office hosted an “update meeting” for the New Zealand Chinese media to discuss their integration with the domestic Chinese media. In attendance was Li Guohong, vice director of the Propaganda Department of the State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, and other senior CCP media management officials, representatives of the ethnic Chinese media in New Zealand, representatives of ethnic Chinese community groups, and Labour MP Raymond Huo.40 To have a foreign government give instructions to the New Zealand media is surely a breach of New Zealand’s sovereignty, but to date the New Zealand government has been silent on this issue.

China’s approach to achieving media supervision in New Zealand is identical to that followed in the PRC since the economic reforms of the early 1990s: while media companies may be owned by a range of actors, the communist party retains overall political control.41 In the space of a few years, New Zealand’s Chinese language mass media has gone from being an independent, localized, ethnic language medium to an outlet of China’s official messaging.42 Local Chinese language media platforms (with the exception of the pro-Falun gong paper 大纪元/The Epoch Times) now have content cooperation agreements with Xinhua News Service, get their China-related news from Xinhua, and participate in annual media training conferences in China. Some media outlets have also employed senior staff members who are closely connected to the CCP.

The leading Auckland Chinese language paper, the Chinese Herald has close personnel links to the PRC consulate43 and works with the All-China Federation of Overseas Chinese.44 In 2011, Auckland’s only Chinese-language 24-hour radio station FM 90.6 was taken over by a subsidiary of China Radio International (CRI), Global CAMG.45 FM 90.6 now sources all its news from CRI and its Australian subsidiary. Global CAMG also runs Panda TV, Channel 37, the Chinese Times, and Kiwi Style.

In 2014, Xinhua set up an extensive cooperation agreement with Skykiwi, New Zealand’s leading Chinese language, multi-platform website, which has since become a two-way channel for PRC-New Zealand communication.46 In 2015, World TV, an Auckland-based Chinese language television network with seven channels and two radio stations that was founded by Hong Kong and Taiwanese New Zealanders in 1998, made a controversial decision to take its Taiwan programming off air.47 World TV has been in partnership with CRI since 2010. In 2016, China Xinhua News Network TV launched its own television station in New Zealand, TV33. In 2017, two young Chinese entrepreneurs founded the television channel NCTV, which also relays news from Xinhua and shows from Chinese state broadcasting, and aims to make programs that will be able to be shown in China.

In 2016, the CCP English language paper, China Daily, signed a deal with Fairfax Newspapers to have Chinese supplements published in Fairfax Australian and New Zealand newspapers. Also in 2016, Natural History New Zealand (NHNZ) signed a ten-year co-production agreement with China Central Television (CCTV) for joint film-making such that NHNZ could help CCTV get its content out into the global marketplace.

The formation of a China-centered economic and strategic bloc.

In 2015 New Zealand was the first Western country to set up a body to promote BRI (or OBOR). The New Zealand OBOR Council is led by former Mayor of Waitakere City, Sir Bob Harvey. The other members of the council are national and local politicians of both main political parties and government officials. In March 2017, when Chinese premier Li Keqiang visited New Zealand, the two countries signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding on the BRI. New Zealand was the first Western developed country to sign such an agreement. During Li Keqiang’s visit the Oceania Silk Road Network (OSRN), the New Zealand OBOR Foundation, and the New Zealand OBOR Think Tank were launched. The New Zealand OBOR Foundation and New Zealand OBOR Think Tank are co-headed by Johanna Coughlan (sister-in-law of former New Zealand prime minister Bill English)48 and Labour Party MP Raymond Huo.49

Since the visit of Li Keqiang, the China New Zealand OBOR Foundation has promoted OBOR to closed-door audiences around the country.50 A score of pro-OBOR op-eds and news items have appeared in the New Zealand media. The China New Zealand OBOR Foundation has established links51 with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (lead agency on OBOR and the PRC super ministry with a special focus on strategic resources), construction companies, private equity firms, and importantly, with Māori tribes (iwi), because iwi control a significant section of strategic land, dairy, fisheries, forestry, and the telecommunications market in New Zealand.52

How New Zealand has responded to the public debate on China’s influence activities

In September 2017, New Zealand held national elections. In October 2017, a Labour-New Zealand First-Greens coalition government was formed. The new government early on demonstrated it was aware of the challenges New Zealand was facing in its foreign policy. Foreign Minister Winston Peters stated that, under the Labour-New Zealand First-Greens government, “New Zealand is no longer for sale.”53 Prime Minister Ardern highlighted her concern that New Zealand maintain its reputation as a nation that is free from corruption. She said under her government, New Zealand would remain outward-facing, while still looking after its own interests.54 James Shaw, leader of the Greens, has made few foreign policy statements, but his party is a strong advocate of an independent foreign policy for New Zealand and has previously been critical of the CCP’s policy on Tibet and Falun gong. In an unusual step, the new government’s national security briefings were released to the public, with the section on espionage featuring discussion about hacking attacks and “attempts to unduly influence expatriate communities” and advising the prime minister to “openly provide information about public security issues to the public."55

Unlike the Turnbull government, the Ardern government has avoided making any statements specifically acknowledging China’s involvement in political influence activities. The Labour-Greens-New Zealand First government is in an awkward position. In order to deal with the issue, it cannot just attack the policies of the previous government; it has to clean its own house and deal with the involvement of some of its own senior politicians in united front activities.56

Significantly, unlike the previous National government, Ardern’s government has not endorsed Xi Jinping’s flagship policy, the BRI, bringing New Zealand back in line with its allies and nearest neighbors. As the previous government did, the Ardern government has continued to send its ministers to high profile events in New Zealand organized by united front organisations and the agencies who promote BRI in New Zealand. Ardern has made a number of statements acknowledging that New Zealand “must not be naïve” and that New Zealand was indeed experiencing “foreign interference activities.”57 It will take strenuous efforts to adjust course on the direction the previous National government set New Zealand. New Zealand has to indicate that it is going to address the issue, but the Ardern government must find a way to do so that does not invite pressure it cannot bear from the CCP, which is watching the new government’s actions closely.

There is a historical template with which New Zealand can work. In 1987, the Fourth Labour government took a principled stand on a matter that affected sovereignty and values—the nuclear issue—and it passed new legislation to back this up. The Sixth Labour government and its coalition partners could take another principled stand in defense of sovereignty and values and make legislative changes such as to the Electoral Finance Act. New Zealand can also work more to partner with like-minded democracies and give up the notion that it necessarily needs to seek shelter with one or other of the great powers at this period in history.

This indeed does appear to be the path that the new government is following. In her first foreign policy speech, Ardern announced that foreign policy would focus on values and principles and partnering with like-minded friends such as Australia, the United States, and South Pacific states. 58 Foreign Minister Peters repeated this message even more strongly in a speech at the Lowy Institute a few days later.59 But more than words, action is required to restore the integrity of New Zealand, by looking to legislative changes which will make the political and economic system more resilient against foreign political influence activities. The government could also speak frankly about the problem to the public, as sunlight is often the best means to correct inappropriate behavior that puts New Zealand national security at risk.

New Zealand’s friends and allies can also do more to help New Zealand, and other vulnerable small states, by looking for ways to partner economically to lessen the pressure from having to make political concessions to the PRC for economic benefit. As mentioned by Peters in a recent interview, if the US government were to sign an FTA with New Zealand, as it has with nations such as Australia, Canada, Chile, and even Morocco, and if it were to exempt New Zealand from planned tariffs on aluminium and steel imports, this would help greatly to break New Zealand’s economic dependency on China.60 Under the previous National government, New Zealand “got the political relationship right” and was granted economic concessions from China, but the cost was high: the unwillingness to speak up on matters of direct impact to national sovereignty such as China’s lack of proper respect for international maritime laws and rulings; a refusal to defend the freedom of speech and association of New Zealand Chinese people and of followers of Falun gong; as well as noticeably under both the previous National government and the new coalition government, a reluctance to openly confront the challenge of China’s political influence activities in New Zealand.   


As Chinese diplomats understand, so should we: China’s political influence activities in New Zealand are of global significance and set a historical precedent for other states. New Zealand is the canary in the coalmine for the rest of the world. If a proudly independent democratic country like New Zealand cannot find a way to protect its own sovereign interests while maintaining a productive and respectful relationship with a great power like China, then we have most certainly entered a new and dangerous era in global politics.

1. See Ylber Marku, “China and Albania: the Cultural Revolution and Cold War Relations,” Cold War History 17, no. 4 (2017): 367-383.

2. “The War that Never Was, Or, New Zealand, China and the Cold War,” in Aaron Fox and Alex Trapeznik, eds., Lenin’s Legacy Down Under: New Zealand and the New Cold War History (Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2004).

3. Nadège Rolland, “Post-Soviet states feel lure of (Chinese) socialism,” The Interpreter, December 5, 2017,; “Senior CPC official calls for enhanced media cooperation with CEE countries,” Xinhua, July 18, 2017,

4. Mark Jennings and Melanie Reid, “Newsroom Investigation: National MP trained by Chinese spies,” Newsroom, September 13, 2017,; Jamil Anderlini, “China-born New Zealand MP probed by spy agency,” Financial Times, September 13, 2017,

5. Anne-Marie Brady, “Magic Weapons: China’s political influence activities under Xi Jinping,” Wilson Center, September 18, 2017,

6. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, “The Long Arm of China: Exporting Authoritarianism With Chinese Characteristics,”

7. Matt Nippert, “GCSB and SIS table China’s influence at Five Eyes meeting,” NZ Herald, December 13, 2017,

8. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, “Panama Papers Source Offers Documents To Governments, Hints At More To Come,”

9. Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Department,; Claire Trevett, “Li Yuanchao: Why China wants Kiwi land,” NZ Herald, October 25, 2015,

10. Alexa Cook, “Lower Chinese milk production good for NZ – analyst,” RNZ, July 7, 2017,

11. Tom Pullars-Strecker, “Space ballons for broadband?” Stuff, November 21, 2014,; Yoke Har Lee-Woolf, “Darling tech company Martin Jetpack wins Chinese heart,” Idealog, February 17, 2015,; Stephen Chen, “China tests new spy drones in near space ‘death zone’,” South China Morning Post, October 31, 2017,

12. People’s Daily refers to the China Charity Association and its affiliated parent body, the Song Qingling Foundation, as important organizations for promoting China’s soft power. See


14. The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in New Zealand, “Peaceful Reunification of China Association of New Zealand Established(12/11/2000),” October 27, 2003,

15. Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Aukland,

16. Agricultural Bank of China,

17. “Xinxilan Huaren yiyuan Yang Jian: Zuo hao mei yi jian shi, jihui jiu lai zhao ni,” Gongren Ribao, August 29, 2013,

18. Nicholas Jones, “National MP didn’t name Chinese military institutes in citizenship application,” NZ Herald, September 14, 2017,

19. Jennings and Reid, “Newsroom Investigation: National MP trained by Chinese spies”;  Anderlini, “China-born New Zealand MP probed by spy agency”; Sam Sachdeva, “Questions hang over National MP’s vetting,” Newsroom, September 15, 2017,

20. “National MP confirms he taught ‘spies’, denies he is one,” RNZ, September 13, 2017,

21. “Xinxilan huaren yiyuan Yang Jian: Zuo hao mei yi jian shi, jihui jiu lai zhao ni,” ???same title?? Huanqiu renwu, August 26, 2013; “National MP Jian Yang taught English to Chinese spies but was not a spy himself,” Stuff, September 13, 2017,

22. “Xinxilan huaren yiyuan Yang Jian: “Zuo hao mei yi jian shi, jihui jiu lai zhao ni,”

23. See for instance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China,

24. “Xinxilan tongzuhui qingzhu Xizang bai wan nongnu jiefang jinian ri,” Zhongguo tongzuhui wang, April 1, 2009,

25. “Launch of New Zealand Chinese Language Week,” New Zealand China Friendship Society Conference,

26. The United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee,


28. Zhao Pitao, Waishi gaishuo (Shanghai: Shanghai shehuikexue chubanshe, 1995), 167.

29. RCMP-CSIS, “Chinese Intelligence Services and Triads Financial Links in Canada,” June 24, 1997,

30. Brady, “Magic Weapons: China’s Political Influence Activities Under Xi Jinping.”

31. Orvida,


33. “First geothermal power, now luxury resort for Wanying He,” NBR, February 2, 2015,

34. New Zealand China Friendship Society,

35. New Zealand China Friendship Society, “Rewi Alley Friendship and Exchange (RAFE) Fund,”

36. Lee-Woolf, “Darling tech company Martin Jetpack wins Chinese heart.”

37. Tom Pullars-Strecker, “2degrees secures funding for 4G,” Stuff, June 18, 2013,

38. Steve Ragan, “PLA Concerns Lead to Huawei Being Blocked in Australia and Questioned in New Zealand,” Security Week, March 28, 2012,

39. “China’s Huawei to spend $300 million in New Zealand expansion,” Reuters, March 21, 2017,

40. “牛清报总领事赴天维网调研 寄语继续传播正能量,” Skykiwi, September 15, 2014,

41. See Anne-Marie Brady, Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda and Thought Work in Contemporary China (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008).

42. See Phoebe Li, A Virtual Chinatown: The Diasporic Mediasphere of Chinese Migrants in New Zealand (Leiden: Brill, 2013); Manying Ip, “Chinese Media in New Zealand: Transnational Outpost or Unchecked Floodtide,” in W. Sun, ed., Media and the Chinese Diaspora: Community, Communications, and Commerce (London, New York: Routledge, 2006).

43. A typical meeting in 2015 had the PRC Auckland consul general advising the head of a New Zealand Chinese newspaper on how she should report on China matters,

44. “中文《先驱报》參加“海外华媒看广东”活动 获颁感谢信 签署备忘录共促文化交流合作,” Chinese Herald, June 23, 2016,

45. Koh Gui Qing and John Shiffman, “
Beijing’s covert radio network airs China-friendly news across Washington, and the world,” Reuters, November 2, 2015,

46. “新西兰华裔王小选出任行动党副党魁 争取华人选票,” Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality,

47. Hamish Fletcher, “World TV co-founder Gary Chang unfairly sacked, awarded $469k,” NZ Herald, July 12, 2017,

48. Richard Harman, “English breaks with National Party convention and endorses Mayoral candidate,” Politik, June 28, 2016,

49. Ge Anna, “New Zealand is set for further cooperation with China,” China Plus, May 19, 2017,

50. “Spotlight: China deepens ties with B&R countries with fruitful achievements, promising prospects,” April 26, 2017,

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52. “Te Huarahi Tika Trust celebrates a successful year,” Scoop, March 25, 2015,

53. “Ardern reaffirms ban on foreign buyers as Winston declares ‘NZ is no longer for sale’,” TVNZ, October 23, 2017, < 54. “Q+A: Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern,” Scoop, October 22, 2017,

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56. “World’s party leaders praise Chinese President Xi’s leadership,” CGTN, December 2, 2017,

57. “Ardern ‘not reading into’ Labour’s poll surge,” RNZ, February 20, 2018

58. “Speech to New Zealand Institute of International Affairs,” February 27, 2018,

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