Chinese billionaire and political donor who was recently banned from Australia has now struck back, calling the country an oversized infant.
Huang Xiangmo, a property developer who has donated millions to both of Australia’s main political parties, had his permanent residency visa revoked and his citizenship bid rejected last week over concerns that he is acting as an agent of the Chinese government to influence Australian politics.
The tycoon moved from Hong Kong to Sydney seven years ago, becoming a major political player, being photographed alongside politicians like former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. However, in recent years, Australian officials have grown more and more concerned with Chinese influence efforts, turning Huang from a convenient source of funds into a threat.
Huang has called the accusations against him “prejudiced and groundless.” On Monday, the state-run Global Times tabloid released a lengthy interview with Huang in which he spoke about his case and took shots at Canberra.
Asked what he believed was the root cause of how contentious China-Australia relations had become in recent years, Huang responded that the problem was that Australia had not found its place in international politics, explaining:
The history of Australia has determined the innate characteristics of a giant baby. This is an objective fact and it does not mean Australia has to feel inferior. The growth of a giant baby takes time, and Australia still has a long way to go. I fully understand this.Australia is a beautiful country. The Chinese are one of the earliest builders of this country and a part of this country that cannot be separated.
In the interview, Huang claimed that the allegations made against him by Australian authorities were both “ridiculous” and vague, declaring that the decision has had a huge negative impact on both him and his family:
Three generations of my family have lived in Australia for seven years. Apart from me, all those in the family are Australian citizens. The younger generation have studied, worked, married and had children there and just like other Chinese people in Australia, they have already been fully integrated. Australia is their home. More importantly, my granddaughter was born in Australia and she is learning to speak. She is now at an adorable age and I think about her frequently.
Huang served as the long-term chairman of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, a lobby group that advocates support for Chinese government policies and is said to take direction from the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.
In December 2017, Labor senator Sam Dastyari resigned over his ties to Huang and China-backed groups, having also reportedly informed the Chinese billionaire that his phone was likely being tapped by Australian intelligence officials.