Kiwi academic Anne-Marie Brady hits back at Chinese Ambassador's claims

A Kiwi academic who believes she's been targeted by the Chinese government has hit back at suggestions her allegations are a part of a campaign of self-promotion

The home and offices of Canterbury University politics professor and China expert Anne-Marie Brady were broken into several times in early 2018, and she's also received threatening text messages and mysterious middle-of-the-night phone calls.

But a months-long police investigation came up empty-handed, despite assistance from the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and Interpol.

Prof Brady at the time said the break-ins were "intended to intimidate" her, after she published a 2017 paper laying out what she called the Chinese Communist Party's plans for attaining worldwide influence.

On Thursday, Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi dismissed Prof Brady's claims in a rare TV interview on The AM Show.

"It is totally wrong to accuse the Chinese Government of having any connection to her case," Wu said. "I believe the New Zealand Police already have reached the conclusion on that... They didn't find anything in relation to China."

Police actually said in February the burglaries remain "unresolved", without clearing China or anyone else. 

Wu Xi.
Wu Xi. Photo credit: The AM Show

Asked by host Ryan Bridge if anyone at the embassy had been interviewed by police, Wu suggested they hadn't.

"Why should [the police] interview us for things that have nothing to do with us?

Asked if Prof Brady was lying, Wu said some people "want to promote themselves by one way or the other".

In an email sent to Newshub after the interview aired, Prof Brady said "incidents" were still happening and the police investigation is ongoing.

"The police report on the burglaries at my house and two office break-ins released in February 2019 was open-ended and did not clear China - or any suspect," she wrote.

"With regard to the Ambassador's claim that the police and SIS engaged in a one-year burglary investigation because I was 'self-promoting', that is ludicrous.

"The police and SIS would not have devoted so much resources...  unless they believed there was a genuine security concern and case to investigate.  As far as I know, it was New Zealand's longest house burglary investigation - no valuables were taken, only old laptops and phones used for my research."

Anne-Marie Brady.
Anne-Marie Brady. Photo credit: Newshub.

She said as "an internationally-connected China, polar and Pacific politics specialist" she can't keep up with the media requests she already gets, "so I certainly have no need, or desire, for publicity".

Prof Brady questioned why Wu agreed to an interview, "because usually the media cannot get any comment from the PRC representatives", using an abbreviation for the People's Republic of China - the full official name of the world's most populous country since the Communist Party of China's victory in the country's brutal and long-running civil war, which ended in 1949. 

"You have to ask yourself why the PRC ambassador wanted to speak to you, and why she was particularly keen to talk about me."