A Chinese billionaire and political donor has called Australia a “giant baby” after it revoked his permanent residency amid concerns over China’s growing foreign influence.
Property developer Huang Xiangmo on Monday told the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper that the incident had hugely impacted his personal life.
“Three generations of my family have lived in Australia for seven years,” he told the tabloid. “Apart from me, all those in the family is Australian citizens … Australia is their home.”
Australian media reported last week that the tycoon was refused permission to stay in the country partly due to concerns over his ties to the Chinese government.
Since 2012, Huang has made donations to both of Australia’s main political parties. He has also been pictured with high-ranking politicians including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Huang described the idea that his donations in Australia and political connections in China were “threatening (Australia’s) national security” as “ridiculous.”
“My words and actions are fully in accordance with Australia’s foreign policies and laws,” he said.
But Huang has become a controversial figure in Australia in recent years. Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari was forced to resign in December 2017 over his close relationship with the businessman.
There were even allegations by local media that Dastyari had told Huang his phone might have been tapped by Australian intelligence services.
‘A giant baby’
In the scathing and lengthy Global Times interview, Huang said Australia had “the innate characteristics of a giant baby” when asked about the cause of the problems between Beijing and Canberra.
“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,” he said.
Relations between Beijing and Canberra soured in December 2017 after the Australian government introduced a package of foreign interference laws, amid growing concerns over China’s influence on politics, academia and media in the country.
Huang said that “every Chinese” person in Australia could face scrutiny from Australia’s intelligence services.
“What I did not expect is that a system that boasts democracy and rule of law would allow some people from its intelligence agency to punish a permanent resident with groundless accusations,” he said.