Oh dear, I’ve been outed. I’m a spy. Actually, Walter Matthau and I prefer ‘agent’.
You can read between the lines in this New York Times piece about Dr Jian Yang, MP.
I’ve already gone into what I think of the Yang situation on Twitter but if you scroll down, you’ll see Raymond Huo, MP is tarred with the same brush.
It’s the sort of reporting that makes me wonder, especially since people like me contribute to Duncan Garner’s ‘nightmarish glimpse’ of Aotearoa.
[Prof Anne-Marie Brady of the University of Canterbury] said the Chinese-language media in New Zealand was subject to extreme censorship, and accused both Mr. Yang and Raymond Huo, an ethnic Chinese lawmaker from the center-left Labour Party, of being subject to influence by the Chinese Embassy and community organizations it used as front groups to push the country’s agenda.
Mr. Huo strongly denied any “insinuations against his character,” saying his connections with Chinese groups and appearances at their events were just part of being an effective lawmaker.
Despite the criticism, Mr. Yang has continued to appear alongside Wang Lutong, China’s ambassador to New Zealand, at public events, including for China’s National Day celebrations this week, when he posed for photos with the ambassador and a Chinese military attaché.
I wound up at three events where the Chinese ambassador, HE Wang Lutong, was also invited. This makes me a spy, I mean, agent.
I even shook hands with him. This means my loyalty to New Zealand should be questioned.
I ran for mayor twice, which must be a sure sign that Beijing is making a power-play at the local level.
You all should have seen it coming.
My Omega watch, the ease with which I can test-drive Aston Martins, and the fact I know how to tie a bow tie to match my dinner suit.
The faux Edinburgh accent that I can bring out at any time with the words, ‘There can be only one,’ and ‘We shail into hishtory!’
Helming a fashion magazine and printing on Matt paper, that’s another clue. We had a stylist whose name was Illya K. I don’t always work Solo. Sometimes I call on Ms Gale or Ms Purdy.
Jian Yang and I have the same initials, which should really ring alarm bells.
Clearly this all makes me a spy. I mean, agent.
Never mind I grew up in a household where my paternal grandfather served under General Chiang Kai-shek and he and my Dad were Kuomintang members. Dad was ready to 反工 and fight back the communists if called up.
Never mind that I was extremely critical when New Zealanders were roughed up by our cops when a Chinese bigwig came out from Beijing in the 1990s.
Never mind that I have been schooled here, contributed to New Zealand society, and flown our flag high in the industries I’ve worked in.
All Chinese New Zealanders, it seems, are still subject to suspicion and fears of the yellow peril in 2017, no matter how much you put in to the country you love.
We might think, ‘That’s not as bad as the White Australia policy,’ and it isn’t. We don’t risk deportation. But we do read these stories where there’s plenty of nudge-nudge wink-wink going on and you wonder if there’s the same underlying motive.
All you need to do is have a particular skin colour and support your community, risking that the host has invited Communist Party bigwigs.
Those of us who are here now don’t really bear grudges against what happened in the 1940s. We have our views, but that doesn’t stop us from getting on with life. And that means we will be seen with people whose political opinions differ from ours.
Sound familiar? That’s no different to anyone else here. It’s not exactly difficult to be in the same room as a German New Zealander or a Japanese New Zealander in 2017. A leftie won’t find it hard to be in the same room as a rightie.
So I’ll keep turning up to community events, thank you, without that casting any shadow over my character or my loyalty.
A person in this country is innocent till proved guilty. We should hold all New Zealanders to the same standard, regardless of ethnicity. This is part of what being a Kiwi is about, and this is ideal is one of the many reasons I love this country. If the outcry in the wake of Garner’s Fairfax Press opinion is any indication, most of us adhere to this, and exhibit it.
Therefore, I don’t have a problem with Prof Brady or anyone interviewed for the piece—it’s the way their quotes were used to make me question where race relations in our neck of the woods is heading.
But until he’s proved guilty, I’m going to reserve making any judgement of Dr Yang. The New York Times and any foreign media reporting on or operating here should know better, too.