China tycoon loses Aussie PR status, barred from entry

Billionaire Huang Xiangmo is banned from Australia over his Communist Party ties.
Billionaire Huang Xiangmo is banned from Australia over his Communist Party ties.PHOTO: YUHU GROUP

SYDNEY • A prominent Chinese billionaire political donor has been stripped of his Australian residency and barred from returning to the country after scrutiny of his Communist Party ties, local media reported yesterday.

Mr Huang Xiangmo - a property developer who has donated millions to Australia's two main political parties - has been at the centre of a spate of political interference concerns.

He was yesterday left stranded outside the country after Australia's Home Affairs office cancelled his permanent residency and turned down his application for Australian citizenship, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Sydney Morning Herald said Mr Huang had his application for an Australian passport blocked for a range of reasons, including what the paper said were "character grounds" and concerns over the "reliability" of information he had supplied in interviews.

Australia's spy agency has long voiced concerns that China was interfering in Australian institutions and using the political donations system to gain access. It reportedly warned the country's political elite about taking donations from Mr Huang and fellow billionaire property developer Chau Chak Wing.

In 2017, disgraced Australian senator and one-time opposition Labour power broker Sam Dastyari quit politics over his links to China.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Mr Dastyari had repeatedly contacted immigration personally to check on Mr Huang's case.

Previous reports have said he also warned Mr Huang that his telephone had been tapped by Australian intelligence.

Canberra last year introduced sweeping reforms to its espionage and foreign interference laws, strengthening laws for offences and introducing new ones targeting the foreign influence of domestic politics.

The laws have strained relations with Beijing, which dismissed the claims of meddling as hysteria and paranoia.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'China tycoon loses Aussie PR status, barred from entry'. Print Edition | Subscribe