I paraphrase, but the argument runs thus: “Think of the madness of the Mao years, the cult of personality and the Cultural Revolution it inspired, the famines and the great castles in the air of the Great Leap Forward.
“Then look at China now. Look at the real glass and concrete turrets of Shenzhen and Shanghai, at the literacy rates, nutrition levels, vaccination coverage, the numbers of graduates…and you see a middle-income country whose development has taken place on a scale and at a speed unmatched in human history.
“Why can’t the West shut and admire this progress? Why can’t it understand that these great prizes have been won not through democracy (look at the sorry mess India is in), but through disciplined and cohesive one-party rule.
… These arguments are on the face of it highly persuasive, not least to the Chinese people who, as is often said, have no appetite for chaos and a Czezh-style colour revolution in any case.
But they do beg a question. If they are so persuasive, why doesn’t the Party make them to the people?
See also “China’s Liu Xiaobo Problem” from Evan Osnos on his blog.