Saturday 10/16/21
VIKTOR ORBAN'S PLANS

Thousands of Hungarians protest against Chinese university project

The future university would be located on a site in Budapest that was originally intended for the construction of low-cost homes for Hungarian students.
28 May 2021, United Kingdom, London: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks to media in Downing Street after meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Photo: Tayfun Salci/dpa/File photo.

Thousands of Hungarians demonstrated on Saturday against plans by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing nationalist government to establish a Hungarian arm of China's Fudan University.

They were angry that an institution controlled by the Chinese Communist Party was to be financed by Hungarian taxpayers' money.

Protesters also expressed outrage over the location of the future university, on a site in Budapest that was originally intended for the construction of low-cost homes for Hungarian students.

Orban has made repeated advances toward Beijing recently, and Hungary has vetoed EU decisions critical of China.

Budapest's city government is opposed to the project.

Academic freedom

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony said at a rally in front of the parliament that the protest was not directed against China or the Chinese, but towards Orban's curtailment of academic freedom.

He cited the 2018 expulsion of the Central European University funded by US philanthropist George Soros and the political takeover of the Budapest University of Theatre and Film Arts that began in 2020.

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