A government official has dismissed a demonstration organised against the establishment of the Budapest campus of China’s Fudan University on Saturday as “political scare-mongering”, arguing that the organisers were protesting on the basis of “unfounded rumours and press reports”. Tamás Schanda, a state secretary at the innovation and technology ministry, told a press conference that protests against the university campus were “pointless” at this stage, noting that the project was still in the planning phase. No decision has been made on either the finances or the project’s implementation, Schanda said, adding that those steps were not expected until the second half of 2022, when the plans for the campus were completed. He said that if Budapest’s municipal and 9th district leadership were willing to work “instead of clowning around”, they should contribute to the talks on the project. “Otherwise it’ll be their responsibility if the site of this major urban development project turns into a rust graveyard, landfill or a large bee pasture,” he said.
“If one applies some common sense, it’s clear that the student quarter planned to be built in the area and the university complement each other well,” he said, adding that Fudan University was one of the world’s top institutions with outstanding research achievements, more than 4,500 instructors and some 30,000 students. He noted that the university was eyeing Budapest as the city in which it intends to set up its first campus outside China. The government wants Hungarian young people to be the “winners of the future”, he said, adding that the university campus together with the student quarter would make that area of Budapest’s 9th district a liveable and attractive part of the city.