The Hungarian Ministry of Innovation has signed an agreement with Fudan University in Shanghai, China, to open a branch in Budapest, DPA reported on Wednesday, as reported by Agerpres. The agreement, signed in an online meeting on Tuesday, stipulates that the future Fudan University in Budapest will welcome between 6,000 and 8,000 students.
Teaching activities, involving 500 teachers, will begin in 2024 at the earliest. Courses will be offered in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, technology and medicine.
The project is controversial in Hungary because although Fudan University in Shanghai is considered an elite university worldwide, it is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. Critics of the project fear that Beijing will spread its authoritarian vision to Hungary through the future higher education institution.
The fate of ethnic Uighur minorities imprisoned in re-education camps, the democracy movement in Hong Kong, the human rights situation in general, and the widespread use of artificial intelligence for surveillance of citizens in China will most likely be taboo topics at the future university, comments the source.
The agreement signed on Tuesday leaves open the question of funding, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has already agreed with the Chinese leadership that Hungary will provide the €1.5 billion construction costs and will take out a loan from the state-owned China Development Bank for this purpose.
Just two years ago, Hungary’s right-wing nationalist prime minister forced the Central European University (CEU), founded by George Soros, to close its Budapest operations, which were transferred to Vienna.