Friedman is a smart cookie, if he thinks China is entering an existentially difficult phase, he is likely correct.
China Takes Drastic Measures To Save The Regime
China is in a rough patch, from the huge debt overhang, to the inane property values, to the fact that China has 60-70 million housing units which have been bought for speculative investment, and are unused, to the first time in human history, brand new never used ghost cities, to the wealth inequalities, to the PLA. Perhaps it will be able to suss out the problems, and find some intricate Rube Goldberg plan to resolve them, but I am not betting on it.
This is a very good analysis of China's internal problems. Friedman did not point out that using the PLA to address issues as it did in 1989 is likely no longer possible. Nor did he discuss the fact that there are a near infinite number of ethnic groups in China who hate the Han, and who are about as stable as warm Nitroglycerine.
China is a confusion of problems, competing interest, and lightly papered over chaos. It is just waiting for an economic crisis to touch off something the CCP can't control.