Global Affairs

When China becomes a cudgel in Europe's domestic politics

The continent's ties with Beijing used to be a matter for foreign policy elites. That is changing.

Demonstrators take part in a protest against the planned Chinese Fudan University in Budapest, Hungary, on June 5, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

The Free Hong Kong Street. Uighur Martyrs' Road. The Dalai Lama Avenue. These are just some of the names recently given to streets in Budapest, Hungary's capital city.

The names were deliberately chosen to annoy China's government, and were part of a protest against plans to build a branch campus of China's Fudan University in Budapest, the first project of its kind in Europe. The idea to rename the streets in the vicinity of the campus came from Budapest's mayor, a key opposition leader eager to embarrass the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, one of China's closest European friends.

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