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Crowds in Budapest rally against Chinese university campus plan

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By Michael Daventry  with agencies
Protesters gather in downtown Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, June 5, 2021.
Protesters gather in downtown Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, June 5, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh

Protesters were out on the streets of Budapest in the thousands on Saturday to demonstrate against plans by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government to build a campus of a top Chinese university.

China is expected to loan €1.3 billion to build the Fudan University campus, but it's causing unease about Hungary's diplomatic pivot from west to east.

Many Hungarians are also concerned about the amount of money their country now owes to China.

"We will stop the Fudan project," Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, told the crowd.

"And we will continue to take a stand on every single issue where we see the government representing the interests of the privileged against the will of the majority."

Another local official described the campus project as a Chinese Trojan horse built with help of Hungarian money — because the Hungarian government is a partner for it.

Karácsony last week said he was giving the streets around the campus names like Dalai Llama Road and Uyghur Martyrs Road, in a bid to highlight Chinese human rights issues.

Opinion polls suggest most people in Hungary's capital oppose the campus.

Video editor • Michael Daventry