Written by Anita Komovis
Budapest (Reuters) – Thousands of Hungarians protested on Saturday against the Chinese university’s plan to open a campus in Budapest, with some declaring it a “betrayal”.
Liberal opponents of nationalist Prime Minister Victor Orban have accused him of being comfortable with China and fearing that the campus could undermine the quality of higher education and help increase its influence in Beijing, Hungary and the world. ‘European union.
Patrick, 22, who refused to give his full name during the protests in the Hungarian capital, said, “I do not agree with our country’s strong feudal relations with China.”
He said the money should be used to “improve our universities rather than create a Chinese university”.
The government signed an agreement in April with Futan University, based in Shanghai, to build a site campus in Budapest where the housing village for Hungarian students was previously planned.
The government said Futan was a world-class institution and that the campus would “allow students to learn the best.”
The MTI news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Thomas Chanda as saying that Saturday’s protest was unnecessary and that “political hysteria” had been dismissed based on unsubstantiated rumors and press reports.
Opposition politicians and economists criticized the plan for its high cost and lack of transparency. The mayor of Budapest opposes it.
“Fidesz is selling dormitories to Hungarian students and their future so they can bring the elite university of the Chinese dictatorship to the country,” the organizers of Saturday’s protest said on Facebook.
Beijing said this week it was trying to attract the attention of “a few Hungarian politicians” and prevent cooperation between China and Hungary.
Urban established friendly relations with China, Russia and other liberal governments, while at the same time attracting Western allies by restricting the freedom of scientific research, the judiciary and the media.
He is facing united opposition for the first time since taking office in 2010 ahead of the 2022 assembly elections.
(Edited by Timothy Heritage)