Party-states are dictatorships. All the known ones in history have been dictatorships, and the remaining ones, including China, are dictatorships. Communist rule in China was dictatorial before the communists were in control of all of the country, established itself as a brute dictatorship nationally in 1949, and continued to be a deadly dictatorship under Mao. China today is a sophisticated dictatorship in which citizens are allowed many freedoms but only up to a point. At that point, when necessary, and often enough that no one is in doubt, the party-state clamps down, sometimes in crude and sometimes in subtle ways, and with whatever force is necessary. It bears being set down at the start and then not forgotten that the regime that presents itself to the world as reformed is one that still rules, ultimately, by fear, intimidation, violence, and death.
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