Australia revokes visa of prominent Chinese businessman

The report comes as Australia and China seek to repair ties that have been strained since 2017. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019

Australia revokes visa of prominent Chinese businessman

  • The government rejected his application for citizenship and revoked his visa while he was overseas
  • Huang has in recent years emerged as one of Australia’s biggest political donors

SYDNEY: Australia has revoked the residence visa of a prominent Chinese businessman and political donor who has in the past been linked to a row about the promotion of Chinese interests, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Huang Xiangmo is unable to return to his Sydney home after the government rejected his application for citizenship and revoked his visa while he was overseas, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.
The newspaper did not report a reason for the decision but it cited the Ministry for Home Affairs, which oversees visa applications, as saying Huang was “unfit” for residency.
A ministry representative declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Minister for Immigration David Coleman also declined to comment.
The report comes as Australia and China seek to repair ties that have been strained since 2017, when Australia accused China of meddling in its domestic affairs. China denied doing so.
Huang, who founded the Chinese property developer Yuhu, was not available for comment. The newspaper said he went to Thailand last month and it was not clear where he was on Wednesday.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), citing unidentified sources, said Huang would not be allowed to re-enter Australia.
Huang has in recent years emerged as one of Australia’s biggest political donors.
He rose to prominence after an influential opposition lawmaker was in 2017 forced to resign after allegations emerged that he was linked to Chinese-aligned interests.
The opposition member, Sam Dastyari, sought to encourage a senior politician not to meet a Chinese pro-democracy activist opposed to Beijing’s rule in Hong Kong in 2015.
Dastyari was also recorded as warning Huang that his phone may be tapped.
Dastyari also appeared on a video tape, standing next to Huang, appearing to endorse China’s contentious expansion in disputed areas of the South China Sea, against his party’s platform.
Australia, despite moving to repair its relationship with, China, has passed a series of tough new bills that are designed to limit offshore influence, legislation widely seen as aimed at China.
In 2018, Huang paid nearly A$1 billion ($715 million) for two Australian projects owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, asked about the newspaper report, said she “understood that a high-profile individual” had had their visa canceled.
“I don’t expect it to be the subject of a bilateral discussion,” Payne told the ABC when asked if she feared the issue would have an impact on relations with China.
“We have a good relationship with mutual respect.”


Iran dismisses ‘desperate’ US move to end nuclear waivers

Updated 28 May 2020

Iran dismisses ‘desperate’ US move to end nuclear waivers

  • ‘Ending waivers for nuclear cooperation with Iran ... has effectively no impact on Iran’s continued work’

TEHRAN: Tehran on Thursday dismissed the impact of what it called Washington’s “desperate attempt” to end sanction waivers for nations that remain in the Iran nuclear accord.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the United States had made the move in a bid “to distract public opinion from its continued defeats at the hands of Iran.”
“Ending waivers for nuclear cooperation with Iran... has effectively no impact on Iran’s continued work” on what the Islamic republic insists is a purely civilian nuclear energy program, its spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi added in a statement published on the agency’s website.
The US decision, he said, was in response to Iranian fuel shipments to Venezuela — which is also under US sanctions — and the “significant advancements of Iran’s nuclear industry.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States was responding to Iran’s “brinksmanship” — its scrapping of certain nuclear commitments aimed at pressuring Washington to remove sanctions as called for by the 2015 accord.
“These escalatory actions are unacceptable and I cannot justify renewing the waiver,” Pompeo said in a statement.
President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the landmark agreement — also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.
The remaining parties to the deal include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
In May 2019, Iran announced it was suspending nuclear commitments to the deal, starting with removing limits on its heavy water and enriched uranium stockpiles.
It was in retaliation for US sanctions and what Iran deemed Europe’s inaction to provide it with the JCPOA’s economic benefits.
Washington had until now issued waivers to allow companies, primarily from Russia, to keep carrying out the nuclear work of the agreement without risking legal ramifications in the US economy.
It will end waivers that allowed the modification of the heavy water reactor in Arak, which prevented it from using plutonium for military use, as well as the export of spent and scrap research reactor fuel.
Kamalvandi said ending the waivers would not impact Iran’s continued work on the Arak reactor and “other equipment” by Iranian experts.