Ronald F. Tiersky, Joseph B. Eastman '04 Professor of Political Science, had a chance to put a question to Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng at a May 31 forum hosted by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. Tiersky asked Chen about struggles going on within the top leadership between old-style communists and those with a perspective more like Chen’s.
Chen responded, “Everything is in a state of historic transition…the development of civil society in China and how to have it function well after it's established -- that's going to depend on the Chinese people…many people want to move the mountain in one week. That's not realistic. We have to move it bit by bit and start with ourselves. If everybody would do that, then maybe the effect would be very good. But you can't expect it to happen overnight.”