China is one generation away from revolution - either way you look at it.
Old school ideologues believing that the views of a few old curmudgeons can by shear force of will direct the largest economy in the world is, well, old fashioned. The key word in all of this is not ideologue or curmudgeon or will but Economy. Even at the height of the Chinese social revolution there was an economy. In fact, much to the chagrin of the revolutionary leaders, there was not one, but at least two economies simmering away just beneath the thin veneer of egalitarian socialism.
An economy is not a static entity. It is, to paraphrase the Tao, like water in that if finds its own level. When "contained" by the guidelines of strict social(istic) rules one of China's economies simply became an underground river. Value for value was exchanged away from the watchful eyes of the Party observers. The other economy which the Revolutionary leaders conveniently downplayed was China's relationship to the world economy. An equally paraphrased Party line is 'The proletariat need only be concerned with his or her own contribution to the well being of the Revolution.' Little of no mention is made of gold prices or oil prices or international monetary exchange rates yet they all had significant impact on the China of the day. China, for better or far worse, has always been a player in the world economy.
China is now experiencing a new social revolution. Gone are the glory days of the beneficent state. Today China is faced with the reality of "improving" personal economies. Today's revolutionaries are the young. The youth of today who do not have first hand knowledge of the last revolution. The kids who are not looking back to social equality but forward to economic equality, on a world scale. The internet connected young men and women who can see the truth of their world standing. The next generation of slightly materialistic, subtly upwardly mobile, achievers. The generation that will not stand for being held back from their personal goals and aspirations. And they certainly won't be held to wading knee deep in water and mud to plant the next season's rice.
Whether is is being kept from or moving to a new economy, China is just one generation away from the new revolution.