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Chinese tycoon loses Australia residency following charges

By Elizabeth Shim
Chinese tycoon loses Australia residency following charges
Australian politician Bill Shorten holds a picture of former Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (L) with Chinese businessman Huang Xiangmo (R) in June 2017. File Photo by Mick Tsikas/EPA

Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A Chinese property developer who once donated millions of dollars to politicians in Canberra is being denied entry to Australia while his permanent residency status is being canceled, according to multiple reports.

Huang Xiangmo, founder of property developer Yuhu Group, and a philanthropist who donated more than $1 million to create the Australia-China Relations Institute at University of Technology Sydney, had been leading a group in Australia secretly in charge of extending the Chinese Communist Party's influence, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday.

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As chairman of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, Huang sent an Australia-based delegation to Beijing, where Communist Party officials called for their continued work in making "allies obtain international support," according to the report.

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing's United Front Work Department has reportedly ramped up overseas influence activities that extend to efforts to weaken U.S. alliances.

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Huang was a well-known figure in Australia's political circles, and was once photographed with top politicians, including former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to the Financial Times.

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The Chinese property tycoon's closest ally in the Australian Senate was Labor Sen. Sam Dastyari.

Dastyari, who resigned in December 2017, would warn Huang at his $9.3 million mansion his phones were being wiretapped. He would tell Chinese-language media in Australia China's territorial claims in the South China Sea should be respected.

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Huang is banned from Australia, but his company's operations are ongoing as he fights a legal battle to overturn the decision to remove him from the country.

"As reported last year, Mr. Huang no longer holds any position at the company, is not involved in day-to-day operations, nor does he hold any shares. Regardless, the company's operations and projects are continuing and it is business as usual," Yuhu said in statement Wednesday.

Huang's wife and children remain in Sydney, according to reports.

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