Re: China isn't behind.
If China's xenophobia was more restrained, it's economy more open to foreign competition, if the CCP didn't insist on centrally controlling all the foreign currency earned through exports so it could keep the yuan undervalued, if domestic Chinese migrant workers had full rights of citizenship and a path to organized labor, if the PLA wasn't driving so much of foreign and domestic policy in Hong Konk, Taiwan, the Himalayas, the South Sea, the East Sea, and most of all if China has made some inroads into Democracy itself, I would be more inclined to believe in China's continued economic rise.
But sadly that is not the case. No doubt "don't rely on foreigners for your basic hi-tech" and "China is working hard -- very hard -- to bring its semiconductor design and manufacturing supply chain up to standard" will succeed to some extent but conversely China has alarmed trading partners into believing "don't rely on China for your basic manufacturing or high tech".
"Freedom" in China has been the economic liberation opportuned by freely accessible export markets, mainly in the advanced democracies, and it has been source of an amazing spring of entrepreneurial energy and creativity. That "Freedom" is a real kind of freedom even without democracy, that can't be denied. But without the same access to the markets of the democracies, will China be able to maintain that level of economic opportunity through greater domestic consumption? That, I fear, is not possible, due to China's hierarchical and centrally planned system. Not without even equal rights for Chinese citizens living in the same cities, and without democracy to push for equity. And as troubles mount, the country will become more dependent upon the PLA to instill a sense of national pride, which will demand more resources and result in further friction with neighbors.