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List of Hungarians Included in Chinese Surveillance Database Published

Fanni Kaszás 2020.10.14.

A database of 2.4 million people has recently been unveiled, proving that China is collecting and monitoring information globally. The list includes 710 Hungarian names. In addition to Hungarian politicians, diplomats and their families, police captains and judges are also included in the database compiled by the mysterious Chinese company. The list also reveals which state assets may have aroused China’s interest.

As we have also reported earlier, an article in Szabad Európa said that a database was compiled from 2.3 billion articles and 2.1 billion social media posts, proving that China is collecting and monitoring information globally. Data collection began in 2017 with a company called Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Information Technology. Of the approximately 250,000 people known to be surveyed this way, 52,000 are Americans, 35,000 are Australians, 17,000 are Hispanics, 10,000 are Indians and British, and 5,000 are Canadians.

China Conducts Worldwide Surveillance Including 710 Hungarians in Newly Unveiled Database
China Conducts Worldwide Surveillance Including 710 Hungarians in Newly Unveiled Database

A database of 2.4 million people has been unveiled, proving that China is collecting and monitoring information globally. A data analyst told Szabad Európa (Free Europe) that the recently released database is the first direct evidence that China is monitoring foreign individuals and institutions for intelligence and influence purposes outside its own borders. The list […]Continue reading

The list also includes 710 Hungarian names, including leading and local politicians, as well as their family members, company executives, and military officers, but there are also programmers, financial professionals, and church leaders on the list. However, as the files containing the data had already been damaged when it got to researchers who were only able to recover about 10% of the information, only a small part of the data was recovered and Zhenhua probably collected data on thousands of Hungarians.

Szabad Európa could clearly identify 393 out of the 710 whose data was collected and they published an article that included 315 of them. In addition to Hungarian politicians, diplomats, and their families, police captains and judges are also included in the database compiled by the mysterious Chinese company.

Most of the database includes current and former members of parliament and their relatives. This part of the list was presumably compiled by algorithms, since the paper found a representative or a person associated with a representative from each government cycle. The Chinese company was interested in the public administration up to the level of deputy secretary of state and chairman of the county assembly, but Szabad Európa also found a rural city mayor and a municipal representative in the database.

The list could include all prime ministers, as they found the names of at least one relative of almost all of them in the database. The relatives of former PMs, Péter Medgyessy and Gordon Bajnai are also on the list, just like the name of one of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s children.

As far as pro-government politicians are concerned, the list includes Judit Varga, Minister of Justice, István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture, Miklós Soltész, State Secretary for National Relations, Bertalan Havasi (Deputy State Secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office) and István Hollik (Director of Communications at Fidesz).

Szabad Európa also found the names of the children of Minister Antal Rogán, Secretary of State Bence Tuzson, János Lázár, Lajos Kósa, László Trócsányi, István Tarlós, and János Martonyi. The list also includes Gábor Kubatov, the party leader of Fidesz and one of his children, as well as the daughter of Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén. As far as opposition politicians are concerned, the database contains the names of Márton Gyöngyösi of Jobbik, István Hiller, Sándor Burány and Ágnes Kunhalmi (Socialist Party MPs), but also relatives of retired politicians, such as Gábor Vona, Ibolya Dávid, and József Ángyán.

Dozens of current and former diplomats’ names and some of their immediate relatives are also listed in the database compiled by the Chinese company. Among them, László Zsolt Szabó currently serves in New Zealand (his name became known as public television MTVA CEO), Ferenc Kumin serves in the United Kingdom (prior to this, he served in the US), Gábor Diczházi in Lithuania, Viktor Mátis in Turkey, and Norbert Konkoly in Russia.

The database also contains the names of 16 judges and constitutional judges. Among them are four chairmen of the Kúria (Hungary’s supreme court) Council (János Zanathy, Zoltán Lomnici, Ambus Molnár, Zoltán Márki), five judges of the Kúria (Eldoróda Krecsik, András Vaskúti, Erzsébet Mudra Láng, Tamás Sugár, Andrea Csőke) and four already retired judges, who had previously held senior positions. The list also includes members of the Constitutional Court. In addition to the judges, the list includes two police chiefs and a retired commander-in-chief.

Probably due to his previous political work, László Domokos, President of the State Audit Office, and József Pálinkás, former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences are also on the list. The special role of the public is indicated by the presence of István Galambos, MTVA’s Deputy CEO (former CEO of the Hungarian News Agency).

However, in addition to several tax officials who made it to the list, the most telling is which state-owned companies whose executives are of interest to the Chinese. These include the National Bank of Hungary, Hungarian State Railways MÁV, Budapest Public Transport Company BKK, the Public Procurement Authority, the Hungarian National Asset Management (MNV), the Hungarian State Treasury, Magyar Posta, the export-import agency HEPA, and three former oil and gas company MOL executives. In addition to these, there are several names in the database who participated in the management of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, but the list also includes lawyer Iván Szabó, who, in addition to representing Roszatom in Hungary, has taken on several issues important to Fidesz. The full list is available on Szabad Európa’s website.

featured photo: Pixabay