After the protest, Hungary appears to oppose Chinese university plans

Budapest — Hungary appeared to have withdrawn plans to build a Chinese university in the capital Budapest over the weekend.

Opponents of Prime Minister Viktor Orban fear that a planned $ 2 billion private university could help reduce the quality of higher education and help the Chinese government increase its influence in Hungary and the European Union. ing.

Olban’s senior aide said late Sunday that the university was not even in the planning stage and could be referred to a referendum in early 2023 if the plan materialized.

“As soon as the terms of the project are known, we will support the referendum in Budapest and decide whether the locals want to go to Fudan University here,” said Oban’s Chief of Staff, Gergely Gulyas, on Sunday. He told Mandiner, a government news website, late.

Prime Minister Orban has built friendly relations with China, including a large-scale consortium project, and has angered allies several times this year by blaming China’s human rights records in EU statements.

According to media reports, the government was willing to pay for the construction of Shanghai-based Fudan University’s first European campus with a loan from China. The campus will replace the planned local student housing area.

Gergely Karacsony, the mayor of the opposition in Budapest and a leading candidate to challenge Olban in next year’s elections, said on Saturday that college protests symbolize Hungarians’ rejection of hard-line government decisions. ..

“We are a different world when it comes to human rights, but we really don’t want to build an elite school in China at the expense of Hungarian taxpayers,” Karakony told a rally on Saturday.

A media spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Hungary did not reveal his name, but criticized Karakony’s comments on the embassy’s Facebook page.

It is unsightly to criticize the internal affairs of another country in the daytime, especially when he hears some important words in his speech, such as “protests at Tiananmen Square,” “democracy,” “human rights,” and “values.” “.” Officials said.

In April, Hungary blocked the EU’s statement criticizing China’s new security law in Hong Kong, undermining the EU’s efforts to confront China’s restraint of freedom in the former British colonies.

Hong Kong police stopped a gathering of people on June 4, 1989, to commemorate China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Merton Dunai

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