Jean Christophe Iseux von Pfetten

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Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten (born November 11, 1967) is a diplomat, academic,[1] and senior advisor to the Chinese government.[2] Referred by the press as the "Red Baron",[3][4] Pfetten served as a specially invited member of the upper house of the Chinese parliament between 2001 and 2005; he is the first European to hold senior public office in the People's Republic of China. In 2013 Pfetten hosted a series of private back-channel meetings on Iran's nuclear program in Oxford and at his home in Burgundy attended by top military commanders from Iran and Israel as well as senior officials from the P5 nations which strongly contributed to the success of the Nuclear Interim Deal achieved in Geneva on November 11, 2013.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Pfetten was born in France. He received his BSc, MSc and Dipl. Eng degrees from the University of Strasbourg and the Institut de Physique du Globe (after being admissible to the Ecole Normale Superieure).[7] In 1989 he patented two inventions in the field of hydraulic fracturing which he presented at the SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) Production Operations Symposium on April 7–9, 1991 in Oklahoma, USA.[8] He has an MSc in management studies from Templeton College, Oxford University, graduating in 1991. In the same time he also read for an MPhil in International Relations at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University.


Pfetten was Chargé de Mission at the French embassy in Bonn, Germany, from 1991 to 1992. He was a Research Associate at the Oxford Centre for Management Studies, Oxford University from 1992 to 1994 and served as Vice-president of the Think-Tank Oxford Analytica from 1994 to 1996.[9] Pfetten became the youngest ambassador at the United Nations in Geneva as Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization [10] and the United Nations Conference on Disarmament between 1996 and 1997.[11]

Academic career[edit]

Pfetten is currently President of the Institute for East West Strategic Studies and Visiting Professor at the Research Institute for World Economy of the People's University of China (since 2006).[12][13] He is also a Bye-Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University (since November 2015). Previously He worked as Visiting Scholar teaching Leadership Management at the International MBA class of Tsinghua University from 1999 to 2000 and became Professor of International Political Economics at the School of Economics of Renmin University starting 2000 for a six years tenure. He was Director of China Studies at the Regulatory Policy Institute [14] which used to be called the Regulatory Policy Research Center under the leadership of Prof. George Yarrow and affiliated with Hertford College, Oxford University, from 1998 to 2005. He is also currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Paris, Honorary Professor at the Assumption University of Thailand, Member of the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences,[15] China Advisor to the US Coalition of Services Industries as well as to the Asian Strategic and Leadership Institute,[16] and, Honorary Representative of the Vancouver Board of Trade.


Pfetten is a former specially invited member of the People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the upper house of China's parliament (representative for Changchun 2001-2005, and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of CPPCC Shanghai 2009-2012). He was Special Advisor on Foreign Economic and Trade Cooperation to the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 2005 to 2009. He is currently investment advisor to 34 local governments in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Qingdao, and Shenzhen.[17] He is also an adviser to the Investment Research Institute of National Development and Reform Commission, the China National School of Administration, the MOFCOM Transnational Institute, the All-China Chamber of Commerce, the Society of Environmental Sciences of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China and the Chinese National Economic Research Institute.[18] Pfetten currently holds non-executive positions on the boards of several multinationals. Pfetten has been credited with attracting around 2% of total foreign direct investment into China since 2002.[19]

Iran nuclear meetings[edit]

The Financial Times,[20] Newsweek [21] and The Spectator [22] reported that between June and October 2013 Pfetten organized two rounds of back-channel diplomatic meetings on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. The first round, hosted by the Institute for East West Strategic Studies and held at Green Templeton College, Oxford, brought together senior Chinese and Israeli officials. A second, more confidential round of talks, hosted by Pfetten at his home in Burgundy, was moderated by former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and former French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.[23] Attendees included Huang Baifu, vice chairman of the China Institute for International Strategic Studies and a former minister of Chinese military intelligence; a former senior leader of Iran Revolutionary Guards; as well as General Doron Avital,[24] former chair of the Israeli Knesset's Security and Defense Committee. Pfetten told The Financial Times that the "Track II" meeting was "aimed at persuading Beijing to take a more pro-active involvement in the Middle East" and emphasized 'the willingness of China and the US to work hand-in-hand in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.' [25][26]

An earlier round of back-channel meeting hosted by Pfetten at Selore in 2011 brought senior Vatican diplomats together with senior Chinese officials for the first time since WWII, the Financial Times reported.[27]


Prof. von Pfetten was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 2003. Pfetten received the Chinese government's Confucius Medal in 1998 and the Lei Feng Award for Merit in 1999 for his humanitarian work following the 1997 earthquake and 1998 flood in China (he is the first and only foreigner ever to receive this award).

Hound breeding[edit]

Pfetten has been a joint master of the New Forest Foxhounds in Hampshire, the Woodland Pytchley Hunt in Northamptonshire and the Equipage de Vens et Venaille[28] in Burgundy. He is currently master of the Equipage de Selore (Baron von Pfetten's Hunt) [29] a private family pack of foxhounds and buckhounds[30] based at his home, the Château de Selore [fr] in St. Yan, Saone-et-Loire, France. One of Pfetten's English foxhounds, Colonel, was named "Meilleur de Race" (Best of Breed) at the French National Hound Show (Fontainebleau June 2011). He was made a Champion at the World Dog Show (Paris July 2011) and became Champion of Champions at Bruxelles final show in October 2011, the first ever foxhound to win the title.[31] Pfetten was elected President of the International Foxhound Association in 2012.

Apethorpe Palace[edit]

In December 2014, English Heritage announced that Baron Pfetten had bought Apethorpe Palace, a Jacobean stately home near Oundle in Northamptonshire.[32]

Simon Thurley, English Heritage's chief executive, welcomed the purchase, saying, "Since 2000 English Heritage has consistently said that the best solution for Apethorpe is for it to be taken on by a single owner, who wants to continue to restore the house and to live in it; especially one who has experience of restoring historic buildings and is prepared to share its joys with a wide public, as Baron Pfetten will do. Apethorpe is certainly on a par with Hatfield and Knole and is by far the most important country house to have been threatened with major loss through decay since the 1950s." Baron Pfetten has agreed to an 80-year commitment of 50 days' public opening a year, a far more extensive undertaking than the normal period of 10 years in the case of English Heritage grant-aided properties.[32] [33]

Apethorpe Palace was a favourite residence of King James I and is now undergoing major renovation works.


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  32. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference ReferenceA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ "Prices and Opening Times for Apethorpe Palace | English Heritage". Retrieved 2017-09-05.