It is true that the Chinese state is still very strong, with enormous fiscal, repressive, and even normative strength. But growing faster yet are the expectations of ordinary Chinese. With the memory of the Cultural Revolution fading, the benchmark of good performance is shifting. Younger Chinese are increasingly unlikely to compare their living standards with those of the revolutionary years. The opening up of China and the rapid rate of urbanization have created a new set of reference points, and people increasingly take a secure lifestyle for granted, seeing education, medical care, and decent housing as welfare entitlements.