Tycoon's case shows Australia is demonizing China in unwarranted 'red scare': expert

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/23 23:28:40

Australia demonizes China, shows ‘unwarranted red scare’

Huang Xiangmo in Sydney Photo: Courtesy of Huang Xiangmo

Business tycoon Huang Xiangmo on Wednesday accused the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of being a despicable tool of political persecution after being stuck with an AU$140 million ($95.7 million) tax bill.

Huang's Australian assets have been frozen as he fights the bill in court. 

The tax office alleges Huang recently transferred huge sums of money out of Australia before preparing to declare bankruptcy. In February, Australian officials canceled his permanent residency. 

In a Wednesday statement "ATO shall not be a despicable tool for political persecution" released on his personal website, Huang said the move was an attempt to "ruin my reputation, cut off my business network and intimidate my business partners."

In an interview with the Global Times on Wednesday, Huang said the ATO knew that he was capable of dealing with such tax blackmail, but the office still tried to create panic for his business partners and implement an excessive economic war.

Huang said that some people were using the ATO and media hype to smear his reputation. 

Such actions were highly deceptive and may mislead the public, even the court and thus must be clarified, he said.

Huang told the Global Times that the timing of the tax attack was meaningful. 

In August, the Independent Commission Against Corruption of New South Wales started to investigate a donation scandal in the Australian Labor Party, which became headline news in Australia and lasted two months, he said.

 "They have been trying to prove that I was the donor, but I was proven to have nothing to do with the case after all the farces," Huang told the Global Times. 

"The inquiry that targeted me was in a stalemate and that was when the ATO created the strange case, trying to keep up the pressure on me," he said.

"In short, many bizarre details have made me doubt that this is a normal tax check and in fact is a move with complicated motives."

Chen Hong, a professor and director of the Australian studies center at East China Normal University in Shanghai told the Global Times that what Huang has experienced in Australia resulted from Australia's domestic bipartisan infighting, the country's long-held Sinophobia and red-scare sentiment. 

Huang alleged the ATO fabricated reasons to deceive the court and the public, such as deliberately applying for Huang's asset freezing after his wife left Australia for Hong Kong - a trip which had already been scheduled long ago and a normal family trip - but trying to make it look like she was escaping from taxes. 

"My wife has already returned to Sydney to look after our granddaughter," he said.

Chen noted that Huang is an individual, not a representative of the Chinese government as Australia asserts. 

However, whatever he does has been demonized as has China. "This exactly reflects Australia's unwarranted red scare," Chen said.

Wang Wenwen contributed to this story
Newspaper headline: Ulterior motive behind tax bill: tycoon  

Posted in: SOCIETY

blog comments powered by Disqus