I would say China's economic system might be different from the Western economic system, but it would not be not mysterious nor threatening. West civilization evolved late but fast, more materialistic than spiritual, easily visible and admirable; hence since 19th century, the West had developed a superiority attitude, which formed a bias and persisted in The United States throughout WW II and after as the U.S. emerged as the superpower in the world. China, despite her prosperous past in her long history, suffered greatly in the 19th century owing to the West invasion. In the seven decades of 20th century, she became extremely poor owing to her treacherous revolution to establish a republic and her experiments with socialistic communism. However, in the recent four decades or so, China has adopted reform and pursued the Western style of economic development as manifested by her advance in infrastructure, technology and modernization of life style. Capitalism was employed in this reform gradually, but as a concept, capitalism has not been foreign to Chinese at all in their history. Money Bank (錢莊）， Pawn Shop （當舖），and private enterprising had been in practice in China for at least a couple of millennium resulting in examples of wealthy merchants richer than the emperor (hard to believe but it is true; don't we have corporations that are richer than the States?). The fast development in the recent few decades may be envied by many other countries; but it is actually costing China a lot in compromising her deep traditional culture and going backwards in spiritual civilization. Corruption has always accompanied with money and riches. Corruption was tolerated for the sake of harmonious peace in ancient Chinese history by emperors who would only take some cleansing measures when corruption had become so severe choking economy or hampering people's survival. Therefore, one should not be surprised that China had launched a serious anti-corruption program after recognizing that many of her successful state enterprises were deep in corruption.
Politically, China has long been an imperial system. With her advanced economic and cultural development, the Chinese emperors firmly believed that China was in the middle of the world, geographically centered to lead the world, hence the dynasties in China practiced a foreign policy of 'suzerainty' (招安）or 'tributary relation'， rewarding any suzerainty with gifts and aids even marriage with Emperor's daughters. This policy worked most of the time except some ambitious foreign leaders exploited the situation. The three dynasties, Jin (金), Yuan （元） and Qing (清）are the result of such foreign invasions. This part of history was the principal motivation for Japan to try to conquer China after Japan had succeeded in her Westernization process. The Chinese revolution against a corrupt and weak Qing dynasty was a treacherous route interrupted by the Japanese invasion (extended as WWII in Asia) and the Western powers' intervention mainly Russia backing a Communist revolution group (Mao Ze-dong) and the United States backing another revolution group (Chiang Kai-Shek). Mao eventually won and established the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the mainland while Chiang's Republic of China (ROC) retreated to Taiwan. Mao succeeded in revolution but failed in experimenting with his own notion of Communism leading to a break up with the Soviet Union in 1960's and struggling with China's economic development. The subsequent reform in China initiated by Deng Xiao Ping had led to the four decades of rapid economic development moving China's economy to be the second largest in the world today, which lent tremendous credit to the unique authoritarian Chinese one-party governing system. Democracy is practiced within the party and the exclusion of other political party assures the unity of the nation (a claim supported by Chinese history prior to PRC and current often fractured democracies suffering from hostile bi-partisan and sometimes frequent changes of government and/or parliament). The current leader, Xi Jinping, rose to the leadership position only after serving the party and the country successfully in many challenging positions, from a laboring peasant to village young leader to party member and numerous administrative and executive experiences. Now he is facing the challenge of sustaining China's economic growth while dealing with a complex world with several hostile and envious neighbors. Obviously, the 'suzerainty' foreign policy failed in the past, could not be employed again. So it is no mystery that China is learning from the successful United States in conducting herself (ironically, the more the U.S. is pressuring China with her alliance and sanction strategy, the more China is learning to resist it with counter (sometimes similar) measures. This explains China's assertive attitude regarding any territorial dispute and her desire to be recognized as a great nation. China's proposal of two-great-nations relationship with the U.S. should not be interpreted as a threat but a sincere desire to work with the U.S. together to maintain a peaceful world. Unless the U.S. believes that she alone and only she alone can maintain the world order, otherwise, engaging China in a two-great-nations relationship appear to be a realistic and win-win policy.
The legal system in the West is a corrective system, assuming innocence then correct mistakes or criminal acts with legal actions. This system seems to have philosophical roots in 'people are born good' discussed above. This legal system is by no means perfect, for example, regarding freedom of speech, an abuser of freedom of speech, making slanderous attack on someone else, may be prosecuted, convicted even punished, but the end results often is still unfair to the innocent with his reputation ruined by the bad publicity associated with the trial. Another example is sex crime committed by a sex offender, in protecting the offender's right for a trial, the victim's privacy and human dignity often get destroyed. These types of examples give a bad impact to the society. Whereas in the East, the philosophy of 'people are born evil, education is needed to drive away the devil' is another option which is definitely existing in the legal system in China. 'Assuming innocence' is balanced with a bit of 'assuming evil', hence there are more restrictive and preventive laws limiting people's freedom especially in the area of sex crime, pornography, and freedom of speech, etc. Again, there should be no mystery why the Chinese society appeared to have less liberty. Unfortunately, the few dissenters (typically those violated or opposed to Chin's laws) were welcomed by the West and used as tools for charging China with human rights violation despite of the fact that majority of Chinese never supported these few dissenters. The Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui exiled to the U.S. (with lots of money with questionable sources) is a good example. He claims he came to the U.S. to warn her that she is in danger of CCP's threat to the U.S. He said that the U.S. is naive about the CCP. The truth is that the U.S. has many China scholars who have debated endlessly about China.
To Be Continued