China wants to open university in Hungary, with money from Hungary paying for the privilege. June 5, approximately 10,000 protested in Budapest against the Fudan university campus project. China is said to be bribing the Hungarian leadership, and the Hungarian president has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Hungarian people are right to rise up against any political leader compromised by the Beijing regime. The greatest danger to our democracies today is the risk that for a few dollars, China could buy presidents, foreign ministers and treasury officials to obey Beijing’s orders, rather than orders. voters.
The controversy in Budapest is indicative of a much larger struggle between democracy and dictatorship. In 2019, Fudan University removed references to “freedom of thought” from its charter. The expensive project, slated for completion in Budapest by 2024, will be funded by more than $ 1 billion in loans from China. Its price is higher than what the government spends on all other universities together, and will drain government funding from Hungarian higher education and increase Hungary’s indebtedness to China.
The Hungarian government is led by Viktor Orban and his supposedly right-wing party, Fidesz. But Orban has close ties with Beijing and Moscow, and pushes a foreign policy of “eastern opening”.
Huawei has 70 percent Hungarian telecommunications market, and Hungary buys a $ 15 billion nuclear power plant from Russia. This month alone, Orban’s government blocked a European Union statement against China’s abuses against Hong Kong. Its actions are those of a Trojan horse for Beijing and Moscow both within the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
A US official told EuroObserver in 2019 that Hungary’s “corruption problem creates avenues for Russian and Chinese influence.” He added, “One of the initiatives we will unveil is US support for efforts to take a closer look at the intersections between corruption and Russian and Chinese influence.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed in 2019 that Western accusations of corruption by Beijing and Moscow in Hungary were hypocritical, given the deals with these illiberal regimes in Britain and Germany.
But Hungary has gone much further. According to Reuters, “Orban has forged cordial relations with China, Russia and other illiberal governments, while sticking together with Western allies by limiting the independence of scientific research, the judiciary and the media.” .
University student protesting against Fudan campus Told AFP last week, “Orban and Fidesz present themselves as anti-Communists, but in reality the Communists are their friends.”
Another told Reuters: “I do not agree with strengthening our country’s feudal relations with China.” He thinks the funds should go “to improving our own universities instead of building a Chinese one.”
The liberal mayor of Budapest and economists are against the campus proposed by Fudan, which is expensive and lacks transparency. Mayor Gergely Karácsony, who would be a better choice for the Hungarian Prime Minister, Told Reuters, “This Fudan project would challenge many of the values Hungary committed to 30 years ago” when it gained independence from the Soviet Union.
The mayor labeled several streets, which converge on the proposed new campus, with names that commemorate the victims of Chinese Communism, including Dalai Lama Street, Free Hong Kong Road, Uyghur Martyrs’ Road, and one named after an imprisoned Chinese Catholic bishop.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the name change should not affect the project and was “despicable”. At that time, he revealed exactly how the CCP views public opinion in a democracy.
About 66% of Hungarians oppose the Chinese university and 27% support the idea, according to an opinion poll released on June 1.
Documents leaked local journalists show that the $ 1.8 billion project, more than what Hungary spent on the entire higher education sector in 2019, will be funded by a Chinese loan of around $ 1.5 billion . The Fudan campus includes plans for 500 professors and 6,000 students, including in medicine and engineering, which raises questions about the transfer of technology from the EU to China.
Orban already has a $ 2.1 billion Chinese loan to rebuild a Budapest-Belgrade railway line. He has accelerated a Chinese vaccine against the coronavirus which is still not approved in the European Union.
According to my sources, such Chinese projects can be accompanied by research fees of 2-7%, paid for by consultancy contracts in a way that personally benefits the head of state and his closest associates. If this is true for these projects, it could go as high as $ 275 million, which would explain why Hungarian political leaders are supporting the project.
In any case, Hungary becomes a CCP beachhead in the European Union. But the Hungarian people have been there, and have done it. The Hungarians experienced Soviet communism, including internment and labor camps, and rose up in 1956 to drive out the Russians. When the Soviets realized that the West feared war, they immediately returned and liquidated the anti-Communists.
Hungary then suffered under the yoke of Moscow until the country’s liberation in 1989. The Hungarians did not endure such horrors to easily fall under the yoke of a new Communist master, this time in Beijing instead. than in Moscow. But they and we will have to fight harder against Beijing’s corruption in our capitals if we are to guarantee our future freedoms.
Anders Corr holds a BA / MA in Political Science from Yale University (2001) and a PhD in Public Administration from Harvard University (2008). He is a director at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe and Asia. He is the author of “The Concentration of Power” (to be published in 2021) and of “No Trespassing” and has edited “Great Powers, Grand Strategies”.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.