Hungarians slap planned Chinese university campus

Photo: AP

Massive protests erupted in Hungary in response to plans promoted by the government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban to open a university campus of Chinese university in Budapest. Opponents of the plans reckon that the Chinese expansion in Hungary has only political reasons to increase the influence of Beijing in the Central European country and thus infiltrating in the European Union, affecting institutions and policy makers.

The controversial policy of Viktor Orban and his nationalist party Fidesz to promote ties with Russia and China has provoked series of protests and social unrest. In one of the latest protests thousands of Hungarians, some of them holding banners declaring "Treason", protested in the capital Budapest, Reuters reported.

Hungarian government signed an agreement with Shanghai-based Fudan University in April on building the campus at a site in Budapest where a dormitory village for Hungarian students had previously been planned. The government has said Fudan is a world-class institution and the campus would "allow students to learn from the best," MTI news agency quoted Tamas Schanda, a deputy government minister, as saying the protest was unnecessary and dismissing "political hysteria" based on unfounded gossip and media reports. Opposition politicians and economists have criticised what they say will be the high costs of the project and a lack of transparency. Budapest's mayor opposes the plan.

Beijing said this week "a few Hungarian politicians" were trying to grab attention and obstruct cooperation between China and Hungary.

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