Confucius (551-479 BC), with his moral and social doctrines, was one of the biggest influences on the Chinese system of values - and the impression people in the west had on China. When European philosophers aimed to develop an enlightened absolutism in the 18th century the Chinese advanced civilization served as a role model.
Laozi (6th century BC), whose philosophical thoughts are collected in the work Dàodéjīng, took on a nearly religious role throughout the years. Although he is nearly forgotten in China, the west hoped to get spiritual ideas and a step back towards nature and the own true self from it during the 20th century, when they were tired of civilization.
Johann Adam Schall von Bell (1592-1666) came to Macao as a Jesuit missionary in 1619, where he studied Chinese for four years, then went on to the Chinese court. He was in charge of the empirical observatory and the mathematical educational establishment. With his knowledge he impressed the emperors of two dynasties, particularly Shunzhi, whom he served as a teacher.
Athanasius Kircher (1601-80) was a Hessian Jesuit priest, polyhistor and professor for mathematics, physics and Oriental languages who saw to the dissemination of knowledge about China. In his work "China Illustrata" he published reports on regional studies, customs, manners, nature geography and architecture written by his Jesuit brother monks who worked in China.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leigniz (1646-1716) was the last great universal scholar, who expressed a keen interest on China throughout his life and studied the reports of the missionaries there. He referred to the advanced Chinese civilization and demanded mutual learning and cultural exchanges. Westerners should learn the Chinese language.
Christian Freiherr von Wolff (1679-1754) was a committed philosopher during the enlightenment who presented China as a haven of reason and criticized the European circumstances of that time. His enemies accused him of atheism because of his "Talk on the practical philosophy of the Chinese". He first had to leave the University of Halle, but was in the end able to hold his own.
Frederick II. (1712-86) founded the "Royal Prussian Asian Company", sent trading vessels to East Asia and compiled a tea house, a dragon house and porcelain cabinets in the course of the China fashion. He showed respect for the wise reason of the Chinese and made fun of the pope in his satire "Phihihu - Envoy of the Chinese emperor".
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) had practiced writing Chinese characters at an early stage already and showed increasing interest in Chinese poetry in later years, for instance in the cycle of poems "Chinese-German Seasons and Times". Chinese germanists translated his works close to completely during the 20th century.
Feng Haho was together with Feng Assing the first Chinese to come to Berlin from Guangzhou in 1823. He was first exhibited for 6 groschen, painted by Schadow, then helped Prof. Schott with the setting up of the German sinology and worked for the Prussian king, who gave him a villa as a present, which is still inhabited by his descendants.
Karl Gützlaff (1803-51) arrived in China as a protestant missionary, learned to speak Chinese and translated the Bible. This got him involved in at times dubious businesses, he for instance did not only sell pious writings from his ship but also opium. During the Opium War he worked as a spy and assisted the British as a negotiator.
Wei Yuan (1794-1857) was a politician, literate and secretary of Lin Zexu, who fought against opium. He realized the crisis of the Qing-Dynasty and was one of the first to appeal to the Chinese court to import modern technologies from the west and strengthen the borders. He created the first atlas containing information on individual western countries.
Karl Marx (1818-1883) did describe capitalism "filthy", but considered it a necessary thunderstorm that would wake China from its thousands of years of numbness and enable it to catch up with the productive forces of the west. His thoughts became the guideline for the Chinese revolutionaries in the 1920s.
Wilhelm Schott (1802-1889) was a versatile orientalist and doyen of the German sinology, who taught among Manchurian, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uraltaic and other languages Chinese, beginning in 1833. He was primarily interested in linguistics and the classical written language. The first translation of Confucius' works into German emanates from him.
Wang Tao (1828-1897) was a reformer and translator who helped James Legge translate the five classics but also translated western literature to Chinese. He pointed out the new great power after the German victory over France in 1871, from which China could learn the restoration of former grandeur.
Li Hongzhang (1823-1901) was a leading politician who tried to reform China by adopting technology and military from the west. He stove for a close relationship with Germany and surrounded himself with numerous advisers. He took Bismarck, whom he visited in Germany in 1896, as a role model for top-to-bottom modernization.
Max von Brandt (1835-1920) took part in the Prussian expedition to East Asia in 1861, went to Japan afterwards and stayed in China as an ambassador 1875-93. During his 33 years as a diplomat in Asia he supported the interests of the German empire quite boldly. Brandt was an eloquent publicist and supplied the Berlin Museum with East Asian art objects.
Carl Arendt (1838-1902) worked as an interpreter at German consulates and embassies 1864-87 after his language studies. Afterwards he became a lecturer for Chinese at the newly founded seminar for Oriental languages at the University of Berlin. Unlike other sinologists he concentrated on modern colloquial Chinese language.
Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen (1833-1905) was a geologist, geographer and participant of the East Asia-Expedition 1861 who visited 13 of the 18 Chinese provinces and published the first geography of China. His studies on surface exposures, coal deposits and the Silk Road were pioneering. He made an effort to broaden German colonial interests.
Gustav Detring (1842-1913) arrived in China in 1864 and worked for the marine police and customs until 1904, in 1877 he became the head of the authority in Tianjin. He managed to win the trust of Li Hongzhang, whom he served as an adviser and represented on important missions such as peace talks with France and Japan. Detring was one of the most influential foreigners in Tianjin at that time.
Constantin von Hanneken (1854-1925) found employment as a military adviser to Li Hongzhang with the help of his father-in-law Detring. He was in charge of marine reinforcement, equipment and training of the fleet. He fought against the Japanese as a general in 1894/95. Afterwords he engaged in industrial projects and founded the "Sino-German Community for Industry and Mining".
Georg von der Gabelentz (1840-1893) was a sinologist and linguist, pioneer of modern synchronic linguistics and professor for East Asian languages in Leipzig and Berlin. His main work on classical Chinese grammar was published in 1881 and has been reedited several times since then.
Ernst Faber (1839-99) worked from 1864 until his death as a protestant missionary in South China, Shanghai and Qingdao. He was an expert on Chinese language and literature, published several works on Chinese language and translated the St. Mark's Gospel into Chinese. Apart from this he was a collector of plants and natural scientist.
Yan Fu (1854-1921) was a translator and scholar who studied in Britain. With Thomas Huxleys Evolution and Ethics and the Natural Selection by Charles Darwin he introduced new ideas that were received by Chinese intellectuals and gained great importance. He formulated fundamental principles of translation from western languages that became the norm.
Kang Youwei (1858-1927) was a scholar who dared to reinterpret Confucianism and approached the emperor with a petition to transform China. After the failure of the so called 100-days-reform he fled the country and visited Germany, which he recommended as a role model for China. After the revolution 1911 he was still in favor of a constitutional monarchy.
Liang Qichao (1873-1929) was a student and comrade-in-arms of Kang Youwei, with whom he initiated the reform program in 1898. After being exiled he was still active on behalf of reforms, supported the development of journalism and traveled a lot. His reports left their mark on the idea of Germany many Chinese had on their minds and numerous Chinese names for German cities stem back to him.
Elisabeth von Heyking (1861-1925), grandchild of Bettina von Arnim, was a member of an educated bourgeois family and engaged in literary pursuits ("Letters that did not reach him"). Together with her husband Edmund, who became an ambassador in Beijing in 1892, she supported the aspiration to power of the German Reich and recommended occupying the Jiaozhou bay in 1897.
Xu Jingcheng (1845-1900) represented China as an ambassador in eight different countries, among them Berlin 1890-97. He secretly informed the German foreign office that the reactions of the Qing court to a military occupation of the Jiaozhou bay would be rather gentle. Xu supported the opening towards the east, which cost him his life during the Boxer Rebellion.
Clemens von Ketteler (1852-1900) was in office as ambassador in Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion. Against all warnings he left the encircled Legation Quarter and was shot by the Chinese sergeant major En Hai, which caused eight states led by the German field marshal count Waldersee to invade Beijing, cause devastation and force China to surrender.
Sai Jinhua (1871-1936) was a famous courtesan who came to Berlin as a concubine of the Chinese ambassador Hong Jun and learned to speak German there. Became the lover of count Waldersee during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and convinced him to go without further violence. There are several contemporary legends about her that find expression in literature.
Chun Zaifeng (1883-1951) was the father of the last Chinese emperor Puyi and was sent to Berlin in 1901 to kneel before Wilhelm II. and apologize for the murder of Ketteler. The members of the German industry saw the possibilities of the Chinese market and quickly carried on as usual, courting the prince in order to be given according contracts.
Alfons Mumm von Schwarzenstein (1859-1924) became the successor of the murdered ambassador Ketteler in 1900. He successfully stood up for the renunciation of military action and orientated the Sino-German relationship towards economy and culture. The homosexual Mumm, who was an enthusiastic photographer, was known as an unconventional diplomat for his time.
Emil Krebs (1867-1930) was an odd linguistic marvel who studied 120 languages of which he mastered 68, oral and written. He worked as an interpreter at the German embassy in Beijing from 1893-1917, helped Chinese authorities with linguistic questions. He stayed with the linguistic service of the Federal Foreign Office. His brain is still being examined.
Yin Chang (1859-1928) learned German at the Tongwenguan in Beijing and was sent to Germany for military training. He accompanied Chun Zaifeng to Germany in 1901 served as ambassador until 1910, though with short interruptions when he was Minister for Military Affairs. The troupes refused to obey his orders in 1911, which caused power to fall to Yuan Shikai.
Zhan Tianyou (1861-1919) was an engineer and pioneer in railway construction and built the first Chinese railway that was finished without foreign assistance from Beijing to Zhangjiakou, which is still in use today. The planning and implementation was carried out by Chinese engineers that had received their formation from Gustav Baus at the railway school in Tianjin.
Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930) was a priest and missionary in Qingdao, where he founded the Sino-german school. He later became a professor in Frankfurt. He was very interested in China, promoted cultural exchange and translated several Chinese classics, e.g. the Yijing, to German, many of which are still being published.
Otto Franke (1863-1946) was introduced to China as an interpreter at the embassy and became one of the most recognized sinologists. He took over the first chair off Asian languages and history at the colonial institute in Hamburg. His history of the Chinese empire in several volumes as well as other historical studies constituted a cornerstone.
Max Weber (1864-1920) was a co-founder of sociology. In the context of his research on economic ethics with regard to the sociology of religion he also included Confucianism and Daoism, whereby he relied on works by sinologists. The at that time new combination of intellectual and social history made a deep understanding of certain phenomena of Chinese society possible.
August Conrady (1864-1925) was a professor for East Asian languages who adjoined the linguistic and text-critical orientation with theological and ethnological questions. Under the influence of the historian Karl Lamprecht he broadened the subject towards general studies of Chinese culture, known as "Leipzig School".
Alfred Forke (1867-1944) was an interpreter for the consulate from 1890-1903 and at the seminar for oriental languages after that before becoming a professor in Hamburg in 1923. He is the author of countless translations and works on Chinese philosophy including detailed philological references, which rather targeted academic users than the general public.
Paul von Hintze (1864-1941) was a naval officer, diplomat and politician who served as extraordinary ambassador in Beijing 1914-17. He successfully prevented China from entering the war against Germany for three years in spite of high pressure from the entente. Hereby monetary payment to Chinese politicians, among them Sun Yatsen, were of significant importance.
Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), revolutionary and founder of the Guomindang became the first temporary president of the Republic of China, but he failed. Sun was impressed by the model colony Qingdao and hoped for help from Germany as he believed they shared the same fate against Versailles. He tried to find advisers and laid the foundation for a special relationship with Germany.
Zhu Zhixin (1885-1920) was a politician, revolutionary and close companion of Sun Yatsen. He was the first to translate parts of the works Capital and Manifest of the CP into Chinese and introduced the biographies of Marx and Engels. Zhu was killed unexpectedly in a military conflict with warlords.
Herbert Borch (1876-1961) got to know China in different positions as a consul at the time of the German empire. He negotiated about the reestablishment of the relationship that had broken off during World War I and signed the first contract with China that relinquished foreign privileges. He represented the Weimar Republic in Beijing 1928-31.
Franz Kuhn (1884-1961) studied law and sinology, was an apprentice in interpreting at the embassy in Beijing 1909-1912. With his at times kind of free translations of Chinese literature he made it accessible to a wide public, particularly the erotic novels Jinpingmei and Rouputuan.
Ma Junwu (1881-1940) studied chemistry in Japan, where he became a follower of Sun Yatsen, 1907-11 metallurgy in Germany, was awarded a doctorate in chemistry in Berlin in 1916. Ma held several positions in science and education, became president of the University of Guangxi in 1928. During the 1920s/30s he pulled the strings in the relationship between the GMD and Germany.
Cai Yuanpei (1868-1940) was an educationalist and member of the Hanlin Academy who studied German when he was 40 and learned from Lamprecht in Leipzig. An advocate of the cultural renewal of China, he supportet Sun Yatsen, became Minister of Education and president of Beijing University. He demanded democratic liberties and distanced himself from Chiang Kaishek.
Lin Yutang (1895-1976) studied in Jena and Leipzig in 1921, where he was awarded a doctorate in old Chinese phonetics. After his return to China he became a professor at Beida and other universities. Published "My country and my people" in the USA in 1935 and its German translation in 1936. He was the first Chinese author to initially be more successful abroad than in China.
Guo Moruo (1892-1978) learned to speak German in Japan and translated Werther by Goethe and Immensee by Storm, later on further works of Goethe, Schiller, Nietzsche and Marx. He helped a new poetry achieve a breakthrough in China with expressionist verses. Guo turned towards Marxism and became an official of the CCP and chairman of the writers' guild after 1949.
Lin Fengmian (1900-91) was a pioneer of contemporary painting, went to Paris in 1920 as an exchange student. Came to Berlin in 1923, where he married Elisa von Roda. Back in China he became the principal of the university and academy of arts. Persecuted during the Cultural Revolution he got permission to leave for Hongkong in 1977, where he repainted his lost works.
Xu Beihong (1895-1953) was the first painter to make use of western stylistic elements in his works, but despised European modernity as decadent and strived for a stimulation of Chinese painting. Xu studied in Paris and Berlin in the 1920s where he visited museums and galleries. Xu was one of the most recognized painters of his time.
Feng Zhi (1905-1993) studied literature and German at Beijing University, literature and philosophy in Berlin and Heidelberg 1930-35. He was rewarded a doctorate on Novalis in 1935. After returning home he taught German at different Universities. His poetry is regarded as inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke. He distinguished himself with studies on Goethe and Heine.
Chen Yinke (1890-1969) was a scholar with an extraordinary talent for languages who spoke German, French, English, Persian, Mongolian, Sanskrit and other languages. He studied Oriental languages in Berlin 1921-25, such as Mongolian with Heanisch and taught at Qinghua University and in Guangzhou. Chen became a victim of the Cultural Revolution.
Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) had revolutionary tendencies at an early stage already, went to Paris, live in Berlin 1922-23 and joined the Chinese Communist Party there, the leader of which he became after 1930. He was prime minister of the People's Republic of China from 1949 until his death and conducted the foreign policy. Zhou visited Berlin in 1959.
Zhu De (1886-1976) was a former opium-addicted warlord who joined the revolutionary movement and went to Germany until 1925, where he first studied in Goettingen, became a student representative and was active in a communist group together with Zhou Enlai. He was commander of the communist forces in the 1930s and became commander-in-chief of the army in 1949.
Karl August Wittfogel (1896-1988) was a sociologist and sinologist who oriented himself towards the ideas of Weber and Marx. Originally a keen supporter of Communism he later started to oppose it. He was imprisoned by the Nazis in 1933 and traveled to China 1936-1939. His main work Oriental Despotism characterized early China as a totalitarian, hydraulic community.
Wilhelm Filchner (1877-1957) was a geophysicist, explorer ant author of 27 books. Apart from Antarctica he was especially interested in the exploration of Inner Asia. He went on long journeys to Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang in the 1920s/30s. His exciting reports were largely read by young people in particular.
Sven Hedin (1865-1952) was a Swedish geographer and explorer who did research on Central Asia. He carried out an interdisciplinary expedition to Mongolia and Xinjiang from 1927-35, in which 37 scholars from 6 countries took part. Hedin was a supporter of Germany and National Socialism, but also stood up for the victims of persecution.
Xu Fancheng (1909-2000) studied philosophy in Heidelberg from 1929-31. Philosopher, interpreter, art critic, poet and expert on India who mastered 8 languages. He was the first to translate "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Nietzsche systematically into the Chinese language. Was a professor at Indian universities from 1945-78, then at the Center for Religious Studies in Beijing.
Zong Baihua (1897-1986) devoted himself to literature at an early stage already and ran the magazine Xuedeng. He studied philosophy, aesthetics and history in Frankfurt and Berlin 1920-25. He founded a modern doctrine of aesthetics in China and was head of the philosophical faculty of Beijing University.
Qiao Guanhua (1913-1983) was a member of the CCP who studied in Tuebingen, where he was awarded a doctorate in 1936. During World War II he wrote columns for the party near magazine Xinhua Ribao in Chongqing. After the foundation of the PRC he held various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was Vice-Foreign Minister 1963-74 and Foreign Minister 1974-76.
Wang Guangqi (1891-1936) was an activist in the cultural movement of May 4th 1919 who studied in Germany, initially economics. He turned towards musical studies in 1922 and finished with a doctorate in Bonn in 1943. He carried out several studies on Chinese folk music and European music and is regarded as the founder of comparative musicology in China.
Fu Sinian (1896-1950) was a historian and philologist who took part in the student movement of May 4th 1919 and studied in London and Berlin in the 1920s. After his return he was a historian at the Academia Sinica and a professor at Beida. Haggard from his continuous arguments with the GMD he died early.
Zhang Junmai (1886-1969) was a prominent philosopher who engaged in the political debates of that time. He studied in Berlin in the 1920s and accompanied Eucken, Driesch and other German philosophers to China as an interpreter. He was in search of a third way between communism and capitalism, whereby he took great interest in an extra path for Germany.
Wang Bingnan (1908-88) joined the communist movement and studied in Berlin until 1936. He went to Yan'an with his German wife Anna Wang. They broke up in the 1950s. He took part in the Geneva Conference in 1954, was in Poland as an ambassador, lead the talks with the USA and became Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Tang Liangli (1901-1970) was born in Java, studied in London and Vienna and spoke better English and German than Chinese. He worked as a publisher and journalist, was in charge of the propaganda of the GMD in foreign countries and German language publishing. As his secretary he followed Wang Jingwei into the puppet regime and became head of propaganda.
Zhu Jiahua (1893-1963) studied at Tongji University and from 1914 in Berlin, where he was awarded a doctorate. As a hing ranking member of the GMD he was in favor of a close relationship with Germany and to be contacted on the economic cooperation. He maintained a distance from national socialism. In Taiwan he was the head of the Academia Sinica.
Chiang Kaishek (1887-1975) established the Nanjing government in 1927 and relied on close cooperation with Germany: Military advisers supported China against Japan and the economic exchange reached a peak during the 1930s. He was impressed by Hitler's strict leadership. The sympathy remained after the relationship was severed.
Chiang Weikou (1916-97), son of Chiang Kaishek, received his military training in the 1930s at the military academy in Munich and took part in the occupation of Austria and the Czech Republic. After the end of the civil war in China he held high postitions in Taiwan.
Yu Dawei (1897-1993) was born to a prominent family, studied in Harvard and Berlin, heard Einstein speak and published works about mathematical logic. He coordinated the procurement of military equipment in the embassy in Berlin without demanding provisions. Later he was in charge of the Army Weapons Agency and the evacuation of the factories to the unoccupied hinterland.
Hans von Seeckt (1866-1936) was the former commander-in-chief and took over the leadership of the military advisory of Chiang Kaishek in 1935. He made suggestions on the reorganization of the army and was involved in the development of the agreement to trade Chinese ores for German weapons. His work was continued by General von Falkenhausen.
Otto Braun (1900-74) took part in the rebellions of the German Communist Party. The Communist International sent him to China from 1931-39 to give instructions to the CCP. Led the defense of the soviet territory and was the only foreigner to participate in the Long March. Mao removed him from office in 1934. Published the works of Lenin in the GDR. Accused Mao of aspiration to power in his memoirs.
Oskar Trautmann (1877-1950), diplomat of the old school who represented Germany in China 1931-1938, the time when the NS-leadership gave up the collaboration with the Chinese government and sided with Japan instead. After the outbreak of war in 1937 he advocated a continuation of the good relationship and tried to mediate in the conflict with Japan without success. Hitler recalled him in 1938.
John Rabe (1882-1950) worked in China for Siemens from 1911-1938 and became manager of the Nanjing branch in 1931, where he was in charge of the system business. Stayed in Nanjing when it was invaded by Japanese troupes in December 1937, established a safety zone and helped the defenseless civil population, which was widely appreciated.
Chen Jie (1885-1951) was considered the best diplomat under Chiang Kaishek and sent to Berlin as an ambassador after the Nazi leaders turned towards Japan in order to prevent further worsening of the Sino-German relationship. Until the breaking off in 1941 he took advantage of every opportunity to get into contact with the economic circles disposed towards China.
Ji Xianlin (1911-2009) was a linguist, palaeograph and historian. From 1935-1945 he studied Sanskrit and Tocharic in Berlin and Goettingen, where he lived to see World War II. He returned to China, founded the faculty for Asian language studies at Beijing University and became one of the most renowned Chinese indologists.
Qiu Fazu (1914-2008) studied medicine at Tongji University and from 1936-39 in Munich, worked as a doctor in Germany afterwards. He hid away Jewish concentration camp prisoners in 1945 and this saved them from death. He went to China with his German wife, where he became one of the most renowned surgeons and a pioneer in organ transplantation.
Asiaticus alias Mojzes Grzyb alias Hans Shippe (1896-1941) was a German communist who was denounced as a dissenter during the disputes over the political orientation of the GCP. As a journalist he sent reports from China 1925-27 and after 1931, whereby he scintillated with well-versed analyses of current events. He was killed fighting along communist troupes against Japanese invaders in Shandong.
Eva Siao (1911-2001) moved to China with the Chinese communist Emi Siao, where she worked as a photographer and journalist. She became world famous for her black-and-white photographs of Chinese daily life after the revolution of Mao Zedong. She was given the Chinese nationality in 1964, persecuted during the Cultural Revolution and rehabilitated in 1979.
Günter Nobel (1913-2007) was one of 30.000 Jewish immigrants for whom Shanghai became a shelter from persecution by the Nazi regime in the 1930s. He and his wife Genia started to work as correspondents for the soviet news agency TASS.
Eduard Erkes (1981-1958) was a sinologist who went on a long exhibition to China that was funded by the Museum of Ethnology in 1931/32. The material he bought on this exhibition is still an important part of the East Asian collection of the museum. He went on two more long travels to China in the 1950s.
Erich Haenisch (1880-1966) was a student of the sinologist Wilhelm Grube who became a private lecturer in 1913 and a professor for sinology in Berlin in 1920. His "Course on classical Chinese written language" served as a standard teaching book in the German-speaking regions for a long time. He carried out pioneering work by translating and explaning the Secret History of the Mongolians.
Hellmut Wilhelm (1905-90), son of Richard Wilhelm and born in Qingdao, studied sinology and returned to China in 1932, worked as a correspondent and professor for German language at Beijing University. Works on history, community and Yijing. He published a German-Chinese dictionary in collaboration with a Chinese lexicographer in 1945.
Wolfram Eberhard (1909-89) studied sinology in 1927 and went to China in 1932, worked for the museum of ethnology and emigrated to Ankara to escape the Nazis, where helped with building up the Turkish sinology. He was particularly interested in Chinese local cultures and folktales, his most well-known work is the encyclopedia of Chinese symbols. He worked as a professor in the USA after 1949.
Paul Wandel (1905-95) was an official of the GCP and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and as this tried to loosen up the one-sided relationship of the GDR with the USSR through inreades contacts with China. Ulbricht sent him to China as a penalty during the Great Leap Forward 1957-61. 1983-1990 he was chairman of the committee GDR-PR China.
Offo Wolff von Amerongen (1918-2007) took over the company that had produced several railway lines for Chiang Kaishek from his father in 1940. He was head of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations 1955-2000 and established economic relations with the Soviet Union and China particularly in the 1950s and 1960s.
Gerhard Schröder (1910-89) was a German politician (CDU). Between 1969 and 1980 he was chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In this capacity he was the first top politician of the FRG to receive an invitation from China, where he discussed the establishment of a diplomatic relationship with the Chinese prime minister Zhou Enlai.
Wang Shu (1924-) was sent to Bonn by the news agency Xinhua without any knowledge of the county or language. After the establishment of a diplomatic relationship between the FRG and China the loyal cadre became the ambassador. He wrote a book about his years in Germany.
Erwin Wickert (1915-2008) joined the Federal Foreign Office in 1939 and became a broadcasting attaché in Shanghai in 1940, from 1941 in Tokyo. He worked as German ambassador in various positions, 1976.80 in Beijing. He is renowned for his non-fiction books on Chinese development after the Mao era and his memoirs. Wickert is also the editor of the diary of John Rabe.
Roland Felber (1935-2001) studied in Beijing for several years, was a professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin. His historical research includes the quantum field theory of the Zhou-dynasty as well as the social utopia of Kang Youwei. Felber supported the applied Chinese studies and took on political tasks in the GDR.
Hans Alfred Steger (1926-2009) studied history and law as well as Turkish and Arab language and became a diplomat of the FRG in 1955. He was the leader of the panel that established the German embassy in the People's Republic of China. From 1972 he worked as chargé d'affaires of the embassy and was in charge of the political department together with the ambassador Heinrich Röhreke.
Helmut Martin (1940-99) was a sinologist who did research on Li Yu in Taiwan. At the Asian Studies Institute he was responsible for the magazine "China aktuell" from 1974 and published unpublished works of Mao. From 1979 he was in charge of the chair of Chinese language and literature in Bochum. He supported Chinese dissidents and thus came into conflict with the Chinese government.
Wolfgang Franke (1912-2007), son of the sinologist Otto Franke, worked at the German Institute from 1937-45 and the as a professor in Chengdu and Beijing. He was in charge of the chair for sinology at the University of Hamburg 1950-77. He published papers on historical issues and committed himself to work in international committees of research on China and Asia.