China defends Hungary university plan following protest

BEIJING (AP) — China on Monday defended a plan to construct a university in Hungary, saying critics who protested towards it in Budapest over the weekend should not politicize and stigmatize regular exchanges between the 2 international locations.

Several thousand folks rallied in Hungary’s capital on Saturday towards an settlement with Shanghai-based Fudan University to open a department within the metropolis, citing the price and hyperlinks with China’s authoritarian ruling Communist Party.

The plan, backed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, requires the Budapest campus to be accomplished by 2024. It would enroll worldwide college students and be the varsity’s solely overseas outpost, in addition to the primary Chinese university campus within the 27-nation European Union.

The plan is a vital platform for people-to-people exchanges and is “in line with the current trend of the times and the interests of all parties,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing.

“We hope the relevant people in Hungary will take an objective, rational and scientific attitude, avoid politicizing and stigmatizing the normal personnel exchanges between China and Hungary, and maintain the overall situation of friendship and cooperation between the two countries,” Wang said.

Orban, a right-wing populist, has fostered closer ties with Russia and China as he faces European Union criticism of his authoritarian ways and staunch anti-immigration stance.

Budapest city authorities have opposed the university branch idea, saying the $1.9 billion project would place a huge burden on taxpayers and send the wrong political message because of China’s record on human rights.

“Let’s make it clear whom we are not protesting against,” Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony advised the protesters. “We have our problem with dictators. … And we are not in the least protesting against Chinese people who live together with us peacefully in this marvelous city.”

Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás stated on Sunday that the folks of Budapest would be capable to determine in a referendum whether or not to proceed with the Fudan mission as soon as prices and different circumstances had been finalized.

Hungarian officers have insisted that Fudan, ranked among the many high 100 universities on the planet, will assist increase larger training requirements in Hungary.

Fudan officers didn’t instantly reply to an emailed request for touch upon Monday.

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