Thousands of Hungarians Protest Planned Construction of Chinese University in Budapest

Nearly 10,000 Hungarians protested on Saturday against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s plan to build an elite Chinese university campus in the Hungarian capital, some of them holding banners declaring “Treason.”

“Fidesz is selling out wholesale the housing of Hungarian students, and their future, just so it can bring the elite university of China’s dictatorship into the country,” the organizers of protest wrote on Facebook.

For the Shanghai-based Fudan University campus, which will be the first Chinese university in Europe to be constructed, Hungarian taxpayers will be paying an amount of €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion). Nearly €1.3 billion of this money will be provided in the form of a Chinese loan, according to Hungarian investigative news site Direkt 36.

Polls have shown that the majority of Hungarians are against the plan as they do not want to pay for the construction of a foreign university at a site in Budapest that was expected to be dedicated to affordable housing for Hungarian students coming from rural areas and low-income families, reports.

“I do not agree with our country’s strengthening feudal relationship with China,” Patrik, a 22-year-old student, said during the protest.

At the same time, the opposition and economists have criticized the government about the project’s high costs and the lack of transparency.

The liberal mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karacsony, who has publicly opposed the plan, required the Prime Minister to cancel the project and announced there would be renaming of streets around the planned campus, including “Free Hong Kong Road,” “Dalai Lama Road” as well as “Uyghur Martyrs’ Road.” The latter will be named after the Muslim ethnic group declared a victim of Chinese genocide by the world’s capitals.

Nevertheless, Orban’s government said Fudan University would provide high-quality education to thousands of Hungarian and international students.

The deputy government minister Tamas Schanda was quoted by Hungary’s MTI news agency saying that the protest was unnecessary and dismissing “political hysteria” based on gossip and media reporting.

Hungary reached the strategic agreement with Shanghai’s Fudan University in April, which deal was signed between the Hungarian Minister of Innovation and Technology, László Palkovics, and the President of Fudan University Xu Ningsheng.

The local district mayor Krisztina Baranyi said that nobody was consulted about the plan to establish the new Campus of China’s Fudan University and that the decision has been taken without anyone in Hungary agreeing with it. 

Get The Latest Higher Education News Sent Directly To Your Inbox

Recent Articles

86% of US Universities Plan to Resume In-Person Study This Fall, Survey Finds

US higher education institutions expressed optimism that international enrolments and study abroad numbers will start recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic soon, the latest...

Dallas College Cancels Student Debt That Was Owed to the Institution for 14,000 Students

Dallas College located in Dallas, Texas, canceled student debt that was owed to the college for a total of 14,000 students in...

Scotland Expands COVID-19 Vaccination Programme to Include International Students

Scotland has decided to expand the national COVID-19 vaccination program to include international students, the Scottish Government has announced.

US Education Department Withholding Debt Discharges for Over 500,000 Student Borrowers, Organization Says

More than half a million student loan borrowers in the United States could have their student debt canceled under federal law, but...

Oxford Students Remove Queen Elizabeth II’s Portrait Claiming It Symbolizes Colonialism

Graduate students at Oxford University’s Magdalen College have voted to remove Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait from their gathering place at the university,...

Related Stories