History of the Centre of Expertise
The Centre of Expertise on Chinese Law at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law looks back on a long tradition.
From 1934, Karl Bünger served as the first China fellow at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Foreign and International Private Law in Berlin (the forerunner of the current Institute). Bünger focused primarily on civil and commercial law, areas of law that had just been the subjects of legislation. As a fellow of the Institute, he travelled to Shanghai in 1941.
When Frank Münzel took over the China Unit in 1968, he lacked the materials needed to conduct research into modern Chinese law as a result of the sealing off of China under Mao. Nonetheless, Münzel was able to acquire the corresponding information through research stays in the USA, Hong Kong and Japan. After the opening of China at the end of the 1970s, it was Münzel’s annotated translations of current Chinese legislation along with his astute journal and book publications that laid the groundwork for the present-day engagement with Chinese law by German practitioners and scholars. More details can be found in the article commemorating the 80th birthday of Frank Münzel (in German): ZChinR 2017, S. 83 ff.
Knut Benjamin Pißler
From 2002 to present, Knut Benjamin Pißler has headed the China Unit and is responsible for its recent enlargement into the Centre of Expertise on Chinese and Korean Law.