Comment: My fiancee is Chinese as well, from Tianjin. She tells me that..

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My fiancee is Chinese as well, from Tianjin. She tells me that..

it is indeed freer in China, regarding to your average day-to-day living. Though she is now a naturalized US citizen she still longs to go back...and we talk of going together to retire someday (if not, my old country).

You mentioned on things that you noticed in your visit to China, that is quite similar to my old country as well (minus the state housing of course, less on the police presence, ditto on less government intrusion and is a "democratic" country)..including the haggling on stuff. I truly believe the vast contrast vs the US really has to do with the "cultural" aspects, and that includes the definition of "free".