China is tightening the noose on Europe. All with white gloves. Hungary thinks it is getting the deal of a lifetime

When the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko forced a Ryanair flight to ground in Minsk in 2021. The arrest of an opposition activist sparked outrage across Europe. They said the free world should protect dissidents from their autocracies. But still China, the world's most powerful autocracy, may soon reach out to dissidents in the EU country.

Hungary has concluded a new agreement with the Middle Kingdom, which provides for “cooperation in judicial and security matters”. In February this year, Chinese Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Interior Minister Sandor Pinter in Budapest. Wang said he looked forward to “deeper cooperation in the fight against terrorism and crime” and spoke of a “new high” in relations.

Hungary, a member of the European Union and NATO, has for years sought rapprochement with Russia and China. So far, it has mainly been about economic relations. Hungary is the first EU country to join China's “New Silk Road Initiative,” through which Beijing seeks to increase its influence through foreign investment. This is just the beginning, and the regulations Beijing is dictating are just beginning.

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