Tiancheng Wang

Tiancheng Wang is CEO of the National Committee of the Democratic Party of China. He has been a law lecturer at Peking University and spent five years in prison because of dissident activities. This essay draws from his book The Grand Transition: A Research Framework for the Strategy to Democratize China (2012, in Chinese), written at Columbia, Northwestern, and New York universities with support from the Scholar Rescue Fund between 2008 and 2010.

January 2013, Volume 24, Issue 1

China at the Tipping Point? Goodbye to Gradualism

China is heading toward a tipping point, with two likely scenarios for how a political opening will come about. Most Chinese intellectuals think that only gradualism—“slow and steady,” step-by-step reform—can offer China a safe and feasible path toward liberal democracy. But they are wrong. Instead of “taking it slow,” China should shun gradualism and opt…