As Joshua Kurlantzick notes in Asia Unbound, China is not in the same boat as the current or former Middle Eastern regimes in Bahrain, Tunisia, and Egypt.
The era of Chinese intellectuals and pro-democracy activists looking clearly to the United States for guidance, if that ever existed, is over.
China’s regime has, since Tiananmen, remained pretty consistent in managing the tone of its opposition to the US. In the mid-90s, the book “China That Can Say No” was published, to great fanfare on the Mainland. It attempted to set Chinese values at odds with the trends in the West (primarily the US), and sold well for years. It relied heavily on Han nationalim, stating
In the next century … Chinese thought, and Chinese entrepreneurial abilities will deeply influence the world, becoming the sole force leading human thought
This type of thinking appeals directly to what David Shambaugh has called the “nativist” element in his paper “Coping With a Conflicted China”, comprised of “populists, xenophobic nationalists, and Marxists.” This group may not like what the CCP has done in regards to its opening up and trade with the West, but it still views the government as the best vehicle for spreading the thought leading force it views as China’s birthright in the coming years.