Several thousand people rallied in Hungary’s capital against plans by Prime Minister Viktor Orban to host a Chinese university in Budapest.
If completed, it would be the first Chinese university campus in the 27-nation European Union.
A strategic agreement that Hungary signed with Shanghai-based Fudan University envisages opening a branch in the city’s 9th district.
Plans call for the 500,000 sq metre Budapest campus, which would enroll international students, to be completed by 2024
Budapest authorities have opposed the university branch idea arguing that the $1.9 billion project would place a huge burden on taxpayers and send the wrong political message because of the alleged human rights abuses in China.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony had a huge photo of a protester facing a tank in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square projected behind him during the demonstration.
The mayor also announced that he was naming streets in the area after the victims of China's human rights violations including a Dalai Lama Street.
Hungarian officials have insisted that Fudan, ranked among the top 100 universities in the world, will help raise higher education standards in Hungary.
But the university’s links to China’s Communist Party have sparked outrage among liberal-minded Hungarians.
Around two-thirds of Hungarians do not support the Chinese university, according to liberal think tank Republikon Institute.