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The article first published in americanthinker.com on 01/15/2019.   For many years geopolitical pundits have debated which way China is likely to go after it pulls large numbers of its population out of poverty. Following the semi-market reforms undertaken by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 and large-scale development, China has indeed brought large numbers of its population- some 250 million at last count – into the middle class. One theory, named after Reagan diplomat, Jeane Kirkpatrick, holds that dictatorships, like Franco’s in Spain and Salazar’s in Portugal, easily transform into democracies once their citizens become well-to-do and are no longer satisfied with economic freedoms alone. Others have argued that this does not apply to communist systems that operate on different command principles altogether.   This debate has become even more heated given some