Hungarian Opposition Protests Against New Chinese Campus in Budapest
A protest was organized on the 5th of June by the opposition against the building of a new Chinese Campus of the University of Fudan, Shanghai in Budapest to stop the expansion of Chinese political power in Hungary and to speak up against its consequences to the city of Budapest.
The protest was held predominantly in front of the Hungarian Parliament, on the Kossuth Square, where more than 20.000 people showed up to support the opposition in stopping the implementation of the planned Fudan Campus in the XI. District of Budapest, Ferencváros. The Mayor of Ferencváros, Baranyi Krisztina´s, message on social media tells the clear agenda of the opposition with posting “Budapest is saying no to Fudan! Here, we are the majority”. On the Kossuth Square, among others, the Mayor of Budapest and leader of the Opposition Gergely Karácsony held a speech stating that this project might have been the “last moral suicide of Fidesz” (the current ruling party of Hungary). He also shared his view about his optimism before the 2022 election, where he sees the Opposition coming out as winners. Moreover, he said “The power of the people is stronger than that of the people in power. The Prime Minister does not have its country, it is the country who has its Prime Minister”.
Recent reports suggest that a referendum will be held this year about the matter, which will ultimately decide whether the Chinese Campus will be built or not. In the meantime, this issue has been broadly spread on the internet gaining global attention, since Karácsony, as the Mayor of Budapest, has renamed the streets around the planned Campus to the following: Dalai Lama Street, Uighur Martyr´s Street, Free Hong Kong Street and Bishop Xie Shiguang Street. This is a clear critical message towards the People´s Republic of China and its past and present political actions. Google Maps has already registered the new street names, which caused several articles written by the BBC, The Guardian, Bloomberg and Hong Kong Free Press, just to name a few. The Guardian wrote “the project enhances the worries of Hungary´s growing Eastern orientation because of an increasing Hungarian debt towards China”.
Several Hungarian experts on international affairs have said that the renaming of these streets will not be forgotten by the Chinese Government, and thus will have a future impact on foreign policies between the two countries. The Millennial Agora will closely follow the proceedings of the referendum and will inform its readers about major news.