Rena & I have spent a lot of time here in China. My impression is that, in general, Chinese still think the USA is a much modern, cleaner and less corrupted place to live. They think the USA is still the No. 1 country in the world.
In addition, many ordinary Chinese still can sense us are from outside even though we speak Chinese, wear the same type of clothes as they do. The reason, after I asked several people, is that we are more polite, smiling most of the time, joking and saying “thanks” a lot.
Here in China, in my views, on the positive side:
1) New constructions are everywhere, even in pretty rural areas.
2) People have more money to spend.
3) Their shops and markets are full of all kinds of goods.
4) Cars are everywhere (+ or -?) with fewer beeps.
5) Excellent infrastructure, especially, their schools, highway & rail system.
6) Knowing outside world much better than before.
7) Ordinary people are very proud of their achievements, including the rise of their living standard, the world no. 1 super computer and their new stealth fighter (J20), etc.
8) There are a lot foreigners from African countries and the Muslim world which indicates China has much wider reach in those areas.
On the negative side:
a) Smokers are everywhere. They smoke all the time, even in no-smoking areas.
b) People get fatter and fatter, evidently, with less exercise and more food.
c) Not lining up for anything. Some place with no line at all.
d) Ignoring EPA laws, even openly selling some supposedly protected animals for food.
e) Not paying attention to details. In their pretty modern bathrooms, one can always find some crappy things there. There are small but annoying. Evidently, housing inspection & other inspections depends on those paper with Chairman Mao on it (ie, $$$) a lot. In Quang Zhou city, there are still some temporarily steel structures to beef up over pass highway. One can get scare by looking at them.
f) Corruption is everywhere. Ordinary people hate it but can’t do anything about it.
g) Housing is more expensive than those in the USA.
h) People are under tremendous pressure to get more money to support their higher living standard and/or to match others.
In all, Rena & I, as Chinese Americans, are also very happy to see their advancement. Even though, many tough problems and new challenges have faced Chinese citizens all the time.