The National Investigation Bureau is probing the Chinese surveillance database that collected data on 710 Hungarians for misuse of personal information, RTL News reports.
A database of 2.4 million people was recently unveiled, showing that China is collecting and monitoring information globally. The list also includes 710 Hungarian names, including leading and local politicians, their family members, company executives, journalists, as well as military officers. The announcement of the investigation comes after it was revealed that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and one of his daughters are both on the list.
Since only a small part of the data from the database was recovered, the Chinese probably collected data on thousands of Hungarians. Szabad Európa (Free Europe), who first broke the news, has published a list of 315 names of the 393 they could clearly identify.
Most of those on the list are current and former members of parliament and their relatives. The Chinese company that compiled the database, Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Information Technology, 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 on the list, just as the name of one of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s children.
There are many pro-government politicians on the list, including Judit Varga, Minister of Justice, István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture, Miklós Soltész, State Secretary for Churches, Minorities and Civil Affairs, Bertalan Havasi, PM Orbán’s press chief, 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, among others.
Dozens of current and former diplomats’ names and some of their immediate relatives are also listed in the database. The database also contains the names of 16 judges and constitutional judges. Probably due to their 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.
In addition to several tax officials who also made it to the list, numerous executives of state-owned companies were also of interest to the Chinese. Companies whose leadership is on the list 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, three former oil companies, and gas company MOL. In addition to these, there are several people in the database who participated in the management of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, but it also includes lawyer Iván Szabó, who, in addition to representing Roszatom in Hungary, has taken on several issues important to Fidesz.
Military intelligence will report its findings on the matter to the National Security Council next Tuesday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment, but previously said that the actions of the Chinese were an “attempt at manipulation.”
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Fischer/PM’s Press Office