Chinese Billionaire Stripped Of Australian Residency Visa For Alleged Political Lobbying

China-Australia Relations
An Australian flag is pictured at its embassy in Beijing, China (Photo: Reuters)

Huang Xiangmo, one of Australia's biggest property development tycoons, recently had his permanent residency visa revoked by the Australian government. The Chinese billionaire was being accused of influencing local politicians to promote China's agendas. He was also tagged as being a "national threat" to the country. Huang, who is now stranded overseas, responded to the allegations and called it them "ridiculous" and "groundless" accusations. 

Huang originally moved to Sydney in 2011, stating in an interview that he moved to the country because he enjoyed Australia's beautiful scenery and folk customs. He also stated in a recent interview that more than three generations of his family are currently living in Australia and that all of them consider the country as their home. According to Huang, the cancellation of his permanent residency visa has greatly affected him and his family's personal lives and relationships within the country.

Ever since he moved to the country, Huang has made a name for himself in the real estate and development sector. However, reports have revealed that he may have made a number of substantial donations to various political parties in Australia. One report estimates that he may have spent more than US$1.9 million in donations to both major political parties.

When asked about his donations, Huang explained that the donations were made to promote Chinese people's "legal involvement" in the country's politics. Huang further explained that everything that he has done was in accordance with the country's foreign laws and policies. During a recent interview, which talked about his canceled visa, Huang criticized the Australian government's decision and called the country a "giant baby" for doing so.   

Huang has been a controversial figure in the country, given his affiliations with Australia's political elite. He has been pictured with numerous high ranking political officials, which includes former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. He is also allegedly closely connected to the country's former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who was forced to resign in 2017 because of their relationship.

Tensions between China and Australia initially increased in 2017 when the Australian government passed several foreign interference legislations to curb foreign influence on its politics and media. Both countries have also been fighting over their perceived influence over the various Pacific nations. Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced a newly approved multi-billion fund, which will be used as foreign aid to the different Pacific island nations. The move was seen as a likely counter to overtake China as the Pacific Islands' larger foreign aid donor.  

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