The American media have a love hate relationship with China. They would love to have a strong federal government that could regulate the minuta of every economic activity in America, but hate China or perceived human rights abuses.
I travel to China 4 or 5 times a year; sometimes living in China for almost 6 months out of the year. I don't go to foreigner areas, ride the normal public transportation, and live in normal people's homes. This is what I experience.CORRUPTION
I agree. The corruption is terrible. Imagine taking a family member to the doctor and having to tip the doctor so he gives your family member the best service. Consumer protection is terrible. There are common scams of getting people to pay thousands of RMB for worthless vitamins because it is "traditional Chinese medicine."
The police are basically worthless; nothing more than bad traffic enforcement or people that tell you the directions. If there is a problem with someone else, you win by making the biggest scene.
This does not even go into the corruption that is high in the Chinese housing market. Local governments get a large part of their budget from land development. They stole land from prior owners, give it to the developers, and take a nice portion for their personal fee. Now the housing market is crashing. Some homes in China have reduced their selling price by 70%.POLLUTION
The first time I went to China I stayed in Shenzhen, the first SEZ of china and borders Hong Kong. The pollution was so bad I got an ulcer in the back of my throat. Now, most of the time I go to Guangzhou and stay in the countryside with relatives. I stay away from the city if I can.LABOR
Chinese people do work hard, but no harder than Americans. When I first went to China I had trouble with their afternoon naps. I just couldn't follow their lead. What is terrible about Chinese labor is their laws. They are not enforced. If a Chinese employee is late for work or makes a mistake, then the employeer cuts the employees pay. If the employee quits their job before their next paycheck. It is common that they will never receive that paycheck. Non-payment of employees is common.PROTECTIONISM
The myth that Chinese people don't buy a lot of things is false. China is the largest purchaser of luxurious items now. What China does though is require any companies to sell their products in China to join with a Chinese company.THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA AND THE RULE OF LAW
There is not really any laws in China. 5000 years of civilization has not changed the fact that the Party is the law now. Henry Kissinger may say China has 5000 years of diplomatic history and have many tricks up their sleeve, but a totalitarian party that crushes any revolt by the people is a party that is in fear of losing power. That fear makes them short sighted. Until the Party is overthrown there is no way for China to be a model for other nations. If a man gets to rich and successful he is put in prison. If people protest for more rights, they are stomped on.THE PEOPLE OF CHINA
This is the strength of China. People with dreams and passions. The people of China want China to be a modern nation. They don't care about being a superpower, but want to be equal members in the world and given respect. The people of China are some of the most hospitable people I have ever met. While not all people achieve great knowledge, generally people of the nation see the pursuit of knowledge as a virtues endeavor.