Frederic Sautet has more on the event;
It is a great opportunity to hear a dissident talk about China’s political system and its reforms. Clearly, parts of China have been fast moving on the economic growth track in the past decade. It is especially the case of its special economic zones (such as Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou). Since the 1980s, the country has opened up to capitalism in ways that have surprised most commentators. The important question is whether or not this is going to (a) lead to deep political changes and (b) lift all the boats.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita made some very important points in an EconTalk podcast a few months ago. Economic changes have only occurred in some parts of China (this is reflected in the Economic Freedom of the World Report, which has troubles rating China because of its disparities). For the average Chinese worker, things have barely changed in the last twenty years (see The Economist on this issue). The rural population is still very poor. The Communist Party remains in control over the way things are done. It is impossible to be an entrepreneur or to own substantial assets without being a Party member. The press is still controlled, the judicial system isn’t independent, and the Party still decides who does what. The failure of the Tiananmen protests to lead to any political changes shows precisely that point.
The Exile and the Entrepreneur
The China Model