Hungary was one of the first countries that recognised the People’s Republic of China on 3 October 1949, and three days later, on 6 October, the two countries established diplomatic relations. The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) and the China-CEE Institute have jointly prepared a book for the anniversary that is published in Hungarian, in English and in Chinese. IFAT hosted the launch of the Hungarian edition on 12 December 2019 during which two of the authors, Mr. Gábor Péter Boros and Mr. Armin Vincentius Fábian presented the conclusions of their research.
In the publication altogether 14 Hungarian and Chinese authors share their perspectives on the past and present of Hungarian-Chinese relations. The first part of the book comprises of papers focusing on economic relations and tourism. Authors analysed the past and present of bilateral relations from the perspective of the Belt and Road Initiative, technology transfer, development models and experiences of economic reforms – to name a few of the topics. Studies in the second part of the publication focus on people-to-people and social connections, evaluating the history of China-research in Hungary, the cooperation in education, the two nations perceptions on each other and the future visons of Chinese immigrants living in Hungary.
In his presentation, Mr. Gábor Péter Boros, scholar at Beijing University, summarised his paper that analysed mutual impressions of people living in Budapest and Beijing based interviews and questionnaires. The study concludes that people in both cities have a wealth of knowledge of the other country. Almost without exception Pekingese are aware of the geographical location of Hungary, many have heard about Ferenc Puskás or Péter Esterházy. Moreover, they find the country an attractive destination and are coming to Hungary in increasing numbers to attend college. Budapest residents are equally knowledgeable, most of them have already seen Chinese movies. The only issue that can be considered as negative is that public opinion in Budapest seems to reflect some concerns about China’s excessive economic influence.
In his paper, Mr. Armin Vincentius Fábian, research intern at Pallas Athene Innovation and Geopolitical Foundation, analysed bilateral relations in the field of tourism. When summarising the conclusion of his research, Mr. Fábian underlined that tourism is flourishing and has become one of the cornerstones of cultural and economic relations between the two countries. In the past decade the number of inbound Chinese tourists have shown a positive trend reflecting that Chinese people particularly like Hungary. However future success requires further efforts. One of the most important challenges is that Chinese tourists are in many cases more vulnerable than average. They arrive from far away and experience a very different environment, which, even as a tourist, can be a shock at first.