China, compare it for once not with the US rather with Germany. Both Germany and China are meritocracies. Germany has only had four chancellors in the last 40 years, all elected and re-elected by one of the best educated electorates in the world. China similarly has cycles of a decade where the same team runs the country. This grants great stability and predictability.
Furthermore, both China and Germany are governed by comparable cultural principles. There is a strong notion of a unitary state, the leadership has a very clear mandate (in terms of not being strongly questioned or actively opposed by an obstructive mass), plus there is a very strong work ethic and the accompanying ‘dream’ that success follows hard work. The result is a country with a shared idea of what progress is and hence what is right and wrong and hence a vector and momentum along it.
China probably would have been a success as well if the Tiananmen revolt had succeeded and a democratic system had taken root like in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Germany and various others that grosso modo share similar basic cultural principles. A period of strong authoritarianism can cement into place a mindset of unity that can survive as a cultural underpinning for what follows. China could probably easily turn democratic by now, they’d still vote as Douglas Adams so beautifully described it in ‘hitchhikers guide to the galaxy’, for the same lizards.
The problem with China now is that it is developing vast bubbles and that the state nor the party has independent and strong enough institutions to alter a course that used to work. China should now be well on its way to develop strong , well educated and independently minded entrepreneurial middle classes. That unfortunately isn’t happening. The party now is an obstacle to the sort of growth that will bring China on a per capita par with Germany.China needs independent citizens that can chart their own course, an open debate about a shared future. That the party doesn’t trust its own people enough to grant such autonomy strongly damns them as continued stewards of China. China is ready but its self appointed elite is afraid.