A Melbourne Chinese community leader and former political candidate has quit the Liberal Party, after being charged under Australia's foreign interference laws.
Di Sanh Duong, also known as "Sunny" Duong, is the first person charged under the laws, which were introduced two years ago.
The 65-year-old was charged on Thursday with preparing for a foreign interference offence, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The case against Duong comes amid a deteriorating relationship between China and Australia, and increasing trade restrictions on Australia's main exports to China, including coal, copper and barley.
Duong, the Liberal candidate for the seat of Richmond in the 1996 Victorian elections, resigned from the Liberal Party over the weekend.
He has been stood down from his board position with the Museum of Chinese Australian History, which said it was "shocked and surprised" by the charges.
A spokesperson from China's Foreign ministry said China had never interfered in the domestic affairs of other countries.
Duong is on bail and will appear in court in March.
Australian Associated Press
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