“Hungary – The People’s Map of Global China”, Ágnes Szunomár (IWE CERS, Hungary)

The Hungarian People’s Republic and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were both established in 1949, on 20 August and 1 October, respectively. With both countries in the communist camp, Hungary formally recognised the PRC as China’s legitimate government as early as 4 October 1949. In the 1950s, bilateral relations began to develop through a significant number of high-level visits, which led to deepening economic, political, and cultural ties. Although the relationship was within the Soviet sphere of interest, Hungarian foreign policy differed somewhat from that of Moscow. While the Soviet Union maintained colder relations with China as they disagreed on ideological issues such as how to evaluate the legacy of Stalin and the direction of the International Communist Movement, Budapest continued to cooperate closely with Beijing. Whether the Chinese Government supported or opposed the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 remains controversial to this day. By the end of the 1950s, however, the Sino-Soviet split had greatly limited how far Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries within the Soviet orbit could go in improving their relations with China, and deep ideological differences began to emerge between Budapest and Beijing. As a result, in the 1960s, especially during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the relationship cooled. Still, Hungary tried to maintain a connection with Beijing, motivated mainly by the pursuit of trade benefits.

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