that's the first time that I comment, because you have turned purposely on this topic: what China has done right. still most of the podcast was about what China does wrong - even though the bad cop part mostly stays with Jeremy. I ask myself this question quite frequently: what is good about this place, why have I spent the better half of my adult life in China? I give you here my list mixed with some comments on the podcast.
you start out to claim that the Chinese gov has accomplished a lot from 1989 to 2013. i have a problem with such statements - and you are making up with it later, when you say that one of the things china has done right is her embracing of science and technology. its not china or china's gov that has done something right. neither the EU or the US or some other national gov has done anything right. humanity as such has accomplished a lot by applying science and technology wider and deeper on our lives. some countries like Britain have started in the 18th century others like China in the 20th. anyway, its technology, combustion engines, fossil fuels and (mostly Western) entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists that have lifted millions of people all over the world, including in China, out of poverty, into a more humane and less beast-like existence. the gov have essentially remained the same, no matter if the systems they work in are aristocratic, democratic, bureaucratic or technocratic: they live off the people, some do it more bluntly than others. The political scientist Heilmann argues the success of China with a peculiar system of trading off administrative favors with financial benefits and large stakes of municipal gov in local enterprises: levying corruption instead of confiscatory corruption.
If I remember correctly it was in Nial Ferguson's BBC4 documentary China Triumph and Turmoil, where he says that the great heritage of MZD is the party apparatus which he left to his people. If there is something positive in a rather totalitarian gov, then it is this gov system that Mao has built up and which to this day provides China with a relatively stable gov that, yes is corrupt, but wastes less resources with the antagonisms of "free democracies" where politicians have action horizons only until the next election and are usually concentrated on sabotaging their coalition partners instead of moving on with things. So, has communism after all brought something good to humanity? Much more to be said here.
I missed in your list the country's massive railway infrastructure, which is certainly one of the things I am frequently boasting off when back in Europe. The light railway/subway system of cities like BJ or SH is still improvable, but also something China is doing right. I hope that municipal debt won't bring 2nd and 3rd tier cities public transport projects to a full stop.
Jonathan Fenby compiled in his work "The Fall and Rise of a Great Power" a great number of statistical information in his introduction. One is that according to the National School of Administration 50% of county level civil servants do not reject physiognomy, astrology or divination. So much for technocratic atheists and no superstition. I can't confirm this data, but it seems quite reasonable.
Chinese, even if atheism/nationalism is prescribed state religion, are often as much Buddhist/Taoist/Confucian as any modern European (of which I know more than bible belt Americans) is Christian or modern Israeli is Jewish. Religion is part of culture and as such even a cultural revolution can not completely erase the conditioning of a society over hundreds of years. Bring a nice Buddha statue to a wedding of a Chinese friend of yours, and you will know what I mean. Superstition is still wide spread and I can't say why, I am fine with it. Wouldn't humanity be much duller without some folks being superstitious? It adds color to the spectrum and I hate all of us to be marble like atheists. What I miss in Chinese society, and what some of my foreign friends articulate too, is actually more individual spirituality as opposed to dogmatic religion.
There is one last thing that comes to my mind. Work. I can't pinpoint if China has done something right here, but Jeremy has built a company in China, Kaiser works at Baidu, most of your co-hosts have great career records, and even I have an interesting yet modest job, and if I think about it, now being father of two, one of the best reasons for me to stay in China is an interesting, well paid job. I even endure some pollution, mental and physical, archaic banking, a great fire wall, et cetera for it. I know that holds also true for many Chinese.