tirsdag 8. juni 2021

A planned campus for Fudan University in Budapest sparked protests, highlighting a broader outcry against Viktor Orban’s China policy

An estimated 10,000 people marched in the Hungarian capital of Budapest on Sunday to protest the construction of the first Chinese university campus in the European Union. Hungarian and Chinese counterparts signed an agreement in the spring to plan and build a campus for Shanghai’s elite Fudan University in Budapest. Although the deal is backed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – who touts an openly pro-Beijing position – local authorities in the capital are against the deal, citing concerns about academic freedom and quality of higher education, as well as broader apprehension about Beijing’s expanding influence and potential espionage in the Central European country. (The deal to open a Chinese university in Budapest also came just a few years after the forced relocation from Budapest to Vienna of the Central European University, founded in 1991 by George Soros with the mission to promote open societies.)

The mayor of Budapest, a prominent member of the opposition party, last week announced name changes to streets surrounding the area of the contentious planned university campus to highlight Chinese human rights violations. One street will be named after the Dalai Lama, another after a jailed Catholic bishop, a third will be called “Uyghur Martyrs’ Road,” and a fourth “Free Hong Kong Road.