Four streets in Ferencváros, a central district in Budapest, have been renamed earlier. The new names touch on four significant yet controversial topics that are directly linked to China. The project has deeply divided the society. The mayor of the district confirmed that despite the official letter from the Chinese community, the street names will not be changed.
Four streets were renamed in the 9th district of the Hungarian capital. The new names covered four important subjects related to China such as freedom in Hong Kong, the Dalai Lama, and the symbolic form of religious freedom.
According to the mayor of the district, the project intends to express solidarity towards the Asian country as well as promote universal freedom.
The initiative would probably have not taken place without the help of FUDAN University. After the act, many people stood by the decision, including the independent mayor, Krisztina Baranyi. However, there were also residents who objected to it.
Those who disagreed with Baranyi asked the mayor in a joint letter to change the street names.
On 24 January, Baranyi received a letter from the Chinese community to change the names in order to maintain the good relationship between Hungary and China. Ye Jianxin, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Hungary and Yu Meiming, President of the Hungarian Association of Overseas Chinese Associations also signed the letter which wrote that
the community was saddened by the fact that the initiative of building a FUDAN University campus in Hungary turned into a political battle.
In addition, they explained that the community finds it hard to meet the expectations of host Hungary and motherland China. They were also afraid that economic relations between Hungary and China would develop in the wrong direction due to the consequences of the project, writes 24.hu.
In their letter, they asked the mayor to “reconsider the pros and cons of the situation caused and developed by the changed street names. If possible, modify the alterations that can be detrimental to China.”
“I have carefully considered the consequences of the renaming project before it was announced. I have found that the benefits are significant, and there are few disadvantages if any,”
wrote Baranyi on her Facebook. She added that “According to all surveys, the FUDAN development that was supposed to be made with our money would be grossly detrimental to the interests of those living here.”