I've got a couple of friends who are Americans but have lived and worked in China for long periods of time. They both had very complex views on China, both positives and negatives. One studies business law and the other is in DC doing human rights law. I have no personal experience beyond several of my friends being from there or living there.
That being said, in an odd way I actually have more freedom here than I do back home. I just mostly have to keep my nose out of party affairs and keep registered, other than they, they tend to at least pretend not to constantly be monitoring me like the government does back home.
Plus, as a foreigner, it's expected that I'll do some odd stuff, just as long as I'm generally respectful of local customs, I don't get judged extra if I do something that's normally odd. And I'm not the only westerner that feels that either.