Wines talked of China's improving air quality and suggested the regime's "tenacity" (an odd adjective to describe one-party authoritarian rule) enabled it to put in place tougher environmental laws without pesky "industry lobbyists and balky political machinery" - better known in the West as democracy and checks and balances.
In the past decade, in fact, authorities have moved against air pollution problems with a tenacity that some environmentalists in developed nations, pitted against industry lobbyists and balky political machinery, can only envy....Nor is that all, either. Before last year's Olympics, the government imposed a regimen based on even and odd license-plate numbers that effectively banned half of all private automobiles from the road on weekdays. Officials - and the public - liked it so much that a modified version, banning one in five cars, is now a permanent rule.
That's a slight echo of Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who in September  also wrote about China's enviromental strides: "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages."