Jan Hecker

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Person.png Jan Hecker  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(diplomat, COVID-19/Premature death?)
Jan Hecker.png
Born15 February 1967
Kiel, West Germany
Died6 September 2021 (Age 54)
Beijing, China
Alma materUniversity of Freiburg, University of Grenoble, University of Göttingen
Victim ofpremature death
Interests • German refugee policy
• Syrian refugees
Dies suddenly just 2 weeks after taking up Beijing ambassador post.

Employment.png Germany/Ambassador to China

In office
August 2021 - 6 September 2021

Jan Hecker was a German lawyer and diplomat. Hecker was a close advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a judge at the Federal Administrative Court, as well as an adjunct professor at the European University Viadrina. He died shortly after taking office as German ambassador to China, aged 54, under unclear circumstances.[1] His vaccination status has not been made public.


Jan Hecker studied political science and law in Freiburg, Grenoble and Göttingen from 1988 to 1994. This was followed by a legal clerkship in the district of the Court of Appeal from 1994 to 1996. From 1996 to 1997, he participated in a postgraduate programme at the University of Cambridge and obtained a Master of Laws (LLM) degree. He obtained his doctorate in law in 1997 on the subject of European integration as a constitutional problem in France at the University of Göttingen.

In 2011 Hecker was appointed as a judge at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. From 2015 to 2017, Hecker was head of the refugee policy coordination team at the Federal Chancellery. In 2017 he took over the position of Foreign Policy Advisor to Angela Merkel as the successor to Christoph Heusgen and, as Ministerial Director, took over the management of the Foreign, Security and Development Policy Department[2]. [3]

Hecker became ambassador to China at the end of August 2021.[4][3] The appointment comes the same month as Germany sent a military ship to South China Sea "flying the flag...on the side of its international partners that share the same values", a mostly symbolic move seen as directed against China.[5]

He died only a few days after taking office at the age of 54, having just completed the mandatory two weeks COVID-19 quarantine.[6] German foreign minister Heiko Maas has stated that "Due to the circumstances of his death, we have no evidence that Jan Hecker's death is in any way related to his official function as German ambassador in Beijing".[7]


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