Today you can still hear references in American media and political institutions to "communist China." Is this an accurate term? 

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In one sense, this is an accurate term because China is ruled by the Communist Party of China.  In addition, the state does direct much of the economic activity in China.

However, China does not truly resemble a communist country.  Instead, it looks much more like Singapore where the government takes a strong role in the economy, but the economy is fundamentally capitalist.  In China today, there are state-owned enterprises, but they are essentially capitalist companies being run by people with good connections to the government.  There is huge income inequality in China and many people have gotten rich through entrepreneurship.  This is not a society in which all people share a basic standard of living.

Thus, China is really communist in name only.  It is an authoritarian state, but one in which the economic system is more capitalist than communist.