The Hungarian government signed an agreement with China to build a branch of Shanghai Fudan University in Budapest. The budget for the construction plan is 1.5 billion euros, with a Chinese loan of 1.3 billion euros. Shanghai Fudan also plans to build other campuses in Europe. However, the Hungarian government’s plan to build the Shanghai Fudan campus is opposed by the Budapest city government. Budapest has taken measures, including renaming four streets near the Shanghai Fudan University campus as “Guangfu Hong Kong Road,” “Uyghur Martyrs Road,” and “Dalai Lama Street,” to oppose the plan. The city is opposed to the plan to build the university. The street renaming bill still needs to be approved by the city council. This weekend, 10,000 people took to the streets of Budapest to protest against the construction of the Shanghai Fudan campus, criticizing the government for cozying up to China, taking on huge Chinese debts and chanting slogans about the West and not the East.
Nearly 10,000 Hungarians took to the streets of the capital Budapest on Saturday to protest against plans by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government to build a branch of Fudan University, China’s top university, in the city, according to AFP.
According to an AFP photographer, some 10,000 people demonstrated in the streets against the government’s plan to build a branch of Fudan University, which is scheduled to be completed by 2024.
Under an agreement signed between the presidents of Fudan University in Hungary and Shanghai, the campus will be Fudan’s first in Europe, covering 500,000 square meters.
Nearly 10,000 Hungarians protested today in Budapest against the government’s plan to build a branch of China’s Fudan University, criticizing the government for “appeasing China”.
But the massive plan has raised concerns about Hungary’s diplomatic tilt from West to East and the country’s soaring debt to China, and has sparked a diplomatic row between Beijing authorities and Budapest’s liberal mayor.
Internal documents leaked revealed that China is expected to provide a 1.3 billion euro loan to cover the bulk of the estimated 1.5 billion euro cost of building the Fudan campus.
A banner during the protest reads, “No Fudan! West, not East!” Another sign accused Orban and his ruling right-wing party, the Young Democrats (Fidesz), of cozying up to China. Szonja Radics, a 21-year-old university student at the protest, told AFP: “Orban and the Young Democrats portray themselves as anti-communist, but in fact the communists are their friends.”
AFP said the protest was the first major demonstration in Hungary this year.