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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Chinese businessman Dr Chau Chak Wing's Australian investments are small and inconspicuous, but he's about to become higher-profile. The Australian dual citizen has just donated $20 million toward the construction of the University of Technology, Sydney's (UTS) new business school, which is to be designed by the famous architect, Frank Gehry.

The new building, on the university's Broadway boundary, will be named the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building.

Dr Chau was the subject of a sustained investigation last year by The Sydney Morning Herald, which keeps a correspondent in China. The investigation was kicked off by a UTS journalism student, Nic Christensen, who had been scrutinising donations to Australia's major political parties.

The story shows that Dr Chau made a lot of money early on in his career due to his close relationships with senior Communist Party officials in China's southern Guangdong Province. But details are scant and Dr Chau himself turns out to be tight-lipped about his business history.

Daughter Winky Chow operates one of Dr Chau's Australian investments, the Australian New Express Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper. Chow has also been close to the erstwhile NSW premier, Morris Iemma. In this, she has emulated her father's method of chasing profits through close ties to political leaders.

Christensen's story won him the Walkley Foundation's Media Super Student Journalist of the Year Award in 2009. He is now employed as a journalist in Sydney.

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