Am I just out of the loop or am I reading too narrow of a news stream or something? I just found this on Slashdot in a discussion thread about a highspeed internet connection between Russia, China, and the US:

Re:Politically odd? (sorry, OT) (Score:5, Insightful)
by afidel (530433) on Tuesday December 23, @07:34PM (#7799613)
As of this week China can be officially declared a FORMER communist country. The upper house introduced a bill that is sure to pass guarenteeing private property rights. This is the end of any idea of communism in China and the beginning of their own brand of socialist capatalism more along the lines of Europe.

I found some more info on the news item here and here.

A fellow named Jon Martin (home page) followed up with this comment (quotes in italics):

Don’t you mean a quasi capitalist totalitarian regime? China is nothing like Europe, and still doesn’t respect human rights. If anything, it’ll become a model for what corporations want America to be like: a country ruled by the corporations for the corporations with no rights given to the individual.

Close, but it is a country ruled by the military backed elite for the corporations with no rights given to the individual. We have a word for this merging of totalitarianism and corporatism: fascism. The only deviation from the standard definition of fascism is the absence of a single, demigod-like leader (ie. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin). Though it could be argued that the memory of Mao serves this purpose.

Regardless, the person who compared China to Europe is spectacularly stupid. Unless they meant Europe of the 1930s.

[/end quote]

The article in the India Times starts out with: “China’s national legislature moved to amend the constitution on Monday to protect private property rights, the first time the Communist Party has formally protected private wealth since taking power 55 years ago. The change, expected to be enacted early next year, is a milestone in China ’s 25-year economic reform effort. “

The concluding paragraph in the article is telling: “Corruption is rampant in China and intellectuals have warned against steps that would make it easier for well-connected people to take control of public property. The watered-down amendment also seems geared to give the state continued sway over wealthy businessmen. “

This deserves more research. I shall do the work. Expect an update on this.