A large portion of the population (perhaps not a majority, but enough) favors this system since they feel that they are in on the scam being run by their elites. They report any activity that they view as subversive and would gladly and openly vote for the corrupt elite that makes the lives of the rest of their countrymen so miserable.
Of course even in a country like China it's dangerous for the elites to wield such violence, so the violence of the state is absolute. It goes without saying that no one can own a firearm, but as well all press outlets echo the party line, telling people what they should or should not care about. If something does happen to break out of the party echo chamber it is squished after a set time in order to ensure that party rule is no being openly doubted.
For instance, people take issue with the cost of medical care, housing, cars, education, etc. or the paucity of wages, but never the system that led to those issues to begin with. What I hear 99.9% of the time is how the knobs on the system might be better tuned so that it's wretchedness might not be so apparent.
I itch to post these rants to Facebook, but it's a dead end. Thinking about a future with no student loans, no medical insurance, and no need for monkeying with the minimum wage because what we need is affordable by nature is too much. Whenever I tell people that producers have to offer their product at a price that the consumer can afford, I feel like the Lawrence Fishburne character in The Matrix, but everyone takes the blue pill. The "blue pill" works until it doesn't, which it's close to