Look at how China was behaving even 20 years ago. Their economy is capitalistic at its core, they are making money for its citizens, drawing people out of the country and into the cities.
The more education, money, products, and freedom of speech (you can see China's government stomping free speech, but its popping up faster than they can put it out) an average citizen has the more power they wield, the more power they wield the faster change happens.
Its just a matter of time before there is a major paradigm shift to full out democracy.
Or......They will just get more hardlined and have all the money in the ruling class and change will happen... more violently.
Will China become a democracy one day ... or do we just need to change our expections of them ... and learn to see things their way ?
When I read the thread title I thought this was going to be a thread on how China owns a ton of our debt or something similar to that.
As far as China having much of a representative government, don't bet on it. China has a very, very long history of an upper ruling class and governmental work being one of the most respected (and powerful) professions in the country. That doesn't mesh well with everybody getting to vote and having much of a say in how the country is run. You need to take a bunch of civil service exams and bribe the right people to have any say in China.
I am personally not all that worried about China because they are a pretty rational player. The like to do the saber rattling and flag waving as much as anybody but the government is *clearly* committed to first doing whatever it takes to stay in power and secondly to retain national prestige. A good example is why Taiwan continues to be independent. China knows that Japan, the U.S., and probably Israel and South Korea would smack them badly for conquering Taiwan. The U.S. having a trade embargo with China is the biggest thing they would be scared of as it would cause a massive depression in the country and cause the populace to possibly want to change the current government to a different one. That is also why we are seeing China "open up" a little bit- the current government wants to not tee off the populace enough to call for major change like a new government.
Of course, china could also recall all their bonds they have invested into the US government. We will fall like a rock if they do...however, that would also create a depression greater than the one in 1929...around the world...in hours...joy!
How should we work with China in the future ... is there anything we are not doing now that we should be doing perhaps??
Demand that they drop the 37% import tariff on U.S. made goods and the mandatory "partnering" with a Chinese entity for a U.S. company to do business there. We have 0% tariffs on their stuff and they can set up shop pretty much at will here (except if it is next to a government nuke facility.) If we are going to have free trade, it needs to be free in BOTH directions.