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Fudan University – friend or foe?

The Magyar Nemzet is the main daily outlet of Hungary. Founded in 1938, the Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) is a reference journal for the conservatives of Hungary. The conservative newspaper is close to the current Hungarian government lead by Viktor Orbán.

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This article has been published online by the Magyar Nemzet on April 23, 2021.

The world-famous Fudan University will establish its first campus outside of China in Budapest, according to their strategic agreement with the Hungarian government. These plans have captured certain opposition politicians’ imagination who claim the project poses a national security risk.

Even András Schiffer (Hungarian lawyer and former politician of the Politics Can be Different opposition party) – who usually formulates thoughtful, smart view opinions – believes that with this, the government will not strengthen the independence of our country. He thinks a foreign policy strategy which tries to satisfy the Western and Eastern powers at the same time weakens our positions; Schiffer also fears the possible security risks if the Chinese university is established.

One inevitably recalls the case of the American-based Central European University (CEU), also named the Soros University, and its affairs in Hungary which erupted in a huge debate not long ago. CEU wanted to free itself from the imposed Hungarian regulations, and because they could not do so, they began to mention persecution and abuse of power. They went even further when they criticized the government for giving permission to a “Chinese Communist” university to settle down in Budapest.

It is quite interesting when an educational institution that is also accredited in the United States makes communist accusations of the great power which, as of now, owns nearly 1.1 trillion dollars of the US public debt. It’s also peculiar that an educational institution propagates the idea of establishing open societies in Central and Eastern Europe, because according to George Soros, the countries of the former Soviet-block are threatened by nationalism.

Well, let’s take a look at this strange concept. There is a big Western ally, the loudest evangelist of the left-leaning, globalist, and liberal ideology, while Hungary and the Visegrad countries have to work hard to keep their national independence. Contradicting goals within the alliance. Based on this – according to the liberal logic – we could look at CEU as the outpost put forward for open society forces in Central Europe, and we could raise concerns of national security risk.

On the other hand, there is China, which has never been an imperialist, conqueror state; their military history was characterized by more defensive than offensive behavior. While we are not allied with them, they are not trying to “gift” us with their ideological product.

László Palkovics, the Minister for Innovation and Technology and in charge of the project of Fudan University recently provided a witty remark regarding the risk to national security: it isn’t necessary to establish a university to engage in intelligence activities. The Chinese university is going to provide business, engineering, and medical programs in Budapest from 2024. If this is considered an intelligence operation, then shouldn’t the Chinese vendors, restaurant owners, and other ventures also be considered security risks? Should these be considered undesirable? All in all, it would be good to know whether we are living in war or peacetime? If in the former, the question arises – what kind of enemy has intentions that are not hostile? And what kind of a friend has intentions that are not peaceful?

Attila Bánó