The extraordinary fact is that — economically — the average Chinese person is more free from government interference than the average Westerner.......It takes far less time and trouble to build a house or a nuclear power station in China than it does in Britain.
So long as you don’t cross the Communist Party, China is laissez-faire on a scale that would make Hayek blush. That’s what happens when you liberalise a totalitarian regime: if the party was previously taking all the decisions, then once it steps back there’s very little else in the way of state bureaucracy.
Over here, there are many other levels of regulation, subsidy and cost to entangle a small business. One of the few freedoms that Westerners have more of is the - precious - freedom to criticise the governing party.