"The Party Controls All Aspects of Life in China."
Not anymore. No question, China was a totalitarian state under Mao Zedong's rule from 1949 until his death in 1976. In those bad old days, ordinary workers had to ask their supervisors' permission not only to get married, but to move in with their spouses. Even the precise timing for starting a family relied on a nod from on high.
Since then, the Chinese Communist Party has recognized that such intensive interference in people's personal lives is a liability in building a modern economy. Under the reforms kick-started by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, the party has gradually removed itself from the private lives of all but the most recalcitrant of dissidents. The waning in the 1980s and 1990s of the old cradle-to-grave system of state workplaces, health care, and other social services also dismantled an intricate system of controls centered on neighborhood committees, which among other purposes were used for snooping on ordinary citizens.
The party has benefited hugely from this shift, even if many young people these days have little knowledge of what the party does and consider it irrelevant to their lives. That suits party leaders perfectly. Ordinary people are not encouraged to take an interest in the party's internal operations, anyway. Powerful party organs like the Organization and Propaganda Departments do not have signs outside their offices. They have no listed phone numbers. Their low profile has been strategically smart, keeping their day-to-day doings out of public view while allowing the party to take full credit for the country's rapid economic growth. This is how China's grand bargain works: The party allows citizens great leeway to improve their lives, as long as they keep out of politics.