The name of many Hungarian politicians, diplomats, and their families appeared in a recently leaked database created by a mysterious company closely tied to China. Hungarian tabloid Blikk asked some of the politicians who have been affected what they think about the whole scandal.
Former Budapest mayor István Tarlós does not understand why his three children have been monitored, as two of them are high school teachers and one works for a company, but not in a senior position.
“They have no business, no political or foreign connections. I wonder what a Chinese company or the army might want from them. High school teachers hardly have economic influence either. I have been the mayor of Budapest for a decade, I might be somewhat interesting, but for a Chinese company, I still find this rather strange,” Tarlós told Blikk.
Ágnes Kunhalmi, the co-leader of the Socialist Party (MSZP), told the paper that as a party’s leading politician she was prepared for such things, but was still shocked when she saw her own name on the list.
“I would like to know from the Hungarian national security services at the next meeting of the National Security Committee what they know about the information that has surfaced in the press,” Zsolt Molnár, a socialist MP and vice-chairman of the committee told the paper. He also added that he only learned about the scandal and that he was on the list from the media.
Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi expressed his hope that Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó would summon the Chinese ambassador and ask for an explanation.
Former finance minister of the 1994-1998 Socialist-liberal government László Békesi told Blikk he first heard about the whole incident from the paper. “I’m already a retired, old politician, if this intelligence makes any Chinese company happy, so be it, I don’t care,” the 78-year-old politician said.
As we have previously reported, Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Information Technology, a mysterious Chinese company collected and monitored information about hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. Most of the information was gathered from publicly available sources such as online articles and social media profiles. The database created around 2018 also includes 710 Hungarian names. In addition to Hungarian politicians, diplomats and their families, police captains, and judges can also be found among the names. Experts say the purpose of the database is clearly to assist the Chinese government and military intelligence.
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