There seems to be much more of a class based societal structure than I remember from my last visit or maybe the gap has just gotten more obvious or worst than what I was prepared for over the last 8 years.
Impeccable-white gloved service was quite a juxtaposition to the disheveled, dirty, and weather-beaten coolies who were pushing handcarts laden with everything from refuse to other people. If this was Communism, what were things like before Communism arrived? In a more class-based society, what rationale would stop some from acting on their envious thoughts of not having what others, whom they saw every day, did enjoy? And was this not just a rotation of power-elites, albeit after a certain more widely based redistribution of property?
While I perceive China as a tightly controlled society, I was also struck by the seeming fact that even this government could not control everyone. Not every business deal and not every hustler could be tracked by a central government. So over 10-20 years after the Cultural Revolution, these first business dealers, and next the progeny of those in governmental control, are benefiting and accumulating enormous wealth.