[Commentary] 10,000 People in Budapest Protest Against a Chinese University Branch, Which Could be the Trigger for Europe to Decouple From China

Author: MOS Fitness Group Jack Li

On June 5th, nearly 10,000 Hungarians demonstrated in the capital, Budapest to protest against Prime Minister Orban’s government plan to build a branch of China’s Fudan University in the city. Protesters criticized the government for “carrying favor with China and turning back to the East,” which may trigger more countries in Europe to decouple from China. 

Under the massive 1.5 billion euro program, China will provide Hungary with a 1.3 billion euro loan. It has made Hungarians feel uneasy about the country’s plunge into huge debts and they have expressed concern about Hungary’s diplomatic tendency to fall from the West to the East. Protesters in Budapest chanted, “No Fudan! Want the West, not the East!” and, “China-pleasing” slogans. People at the protest told AFP, “Orbán and the young Democrats are friends of the Communist Party.” The protest was the first major demonstration of the year in Hungary.

The Chinese government plans to build other Fudan University campuses elsewhere in Europe, but the Hungarian government’s plan to build a Chinese Fudan campus is opposed by the Budapest city government. The mayor of Budapest, a staunch anti-communist, has already taken steps to oppose the plan, including renaming four streets near Fudan University campus as, “Guangfu Hong Kong Road,” “Uyghur Martyrs’ Road,” and “Dalai Lama Street. Dalai Lama Street,” to oppose the plan to build the campus. The proposed street renaming requires the approval of the City Council.

Hungary, the EU country with the closest political ties to China, blocked for the second time in three weeks the adoption of a EU sanctions resolution against China on May 5th, a motion aimed at condemning China’s interference in Hong Kong’s election laws. In mid-April, Hungary had voted against the sanctions facing China.

Hungary, formerly a socialist country in Eastern Europe, whose people suffered from communist dictatorship, knows best the preciousness of freedom and democracy. According to a survey, 66% of Hungarians oppose the Fudan branch plan. The domestic opposition in Hungary is dissatisfied with the government’s drifting away from the European Union and its growing ties with the Communist Chinese government, which disregards democracy and human rights. In the 2019 local government elections, the ruling Young Democrats’ Alliance-Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz), which has held power for many years, was unexpectedly defeated in Budapest. The liberal candidate, Karasonyi, who was put forward by a coalition of opposition parties, was successfully elected, which was seen as an expression of voters’ dissatisfaction and rebellion against Orbán’s government. In 2022, Hungary will hold national elections, and Budapest Mayor Karasonyi is currently the only candidate who can challenge Orbán. In all likelihood, Budapest is the first crack in the collapse of China’s bastion in Central and Eastern Europe.

Reference Sources:https://www.rfi.fr/cn/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/20210606-%E5%A4%8D%E6%97%A6%E5%88%86%E6%A0%A1%E5%BB%BA%E6%A1%88-%E5%8C%88%E7%89%99%E5%88%A9%E9%A6%96%E9%83%BD%E4%B8%87%E4%BA%BA%E6%8A%97%E8%AE%AE

Proofread/Posted by: Brain Sanitizer

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