A governor of a Chinese province or mayor of major city has more autonomy than the governor or even state legislature of a US state.
The Party is heavy-handed because it contests real local opponents.
They understand the distinction between official positions and real evaluations.
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American cinema and science fiction, focuses on good vs. evil, where the world is unchanged after good wins.
China ironically maintained party discipline and unity by turning a blind eye to approved enrichment for loyal party members.