First of all, I would recommend Stein Ringen’s 2016 book The Perfect Dictatorship — China in the 21st Century is a fine overview and analysis of China as a police state.
Less comprehensive works focusing on a particular aspect of the police state could include
- He Qinglian’s 2008 book on media control in China The Fog of Censorship Free download http://www.hrichina.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/Reports/HRIC-Fog-of-Censorship.pdf
- U.S. State Department Human Rights Reports on China: these reports are online from 1999 onwards. Each annual report is an update of the previous one so you will find some new material each year even if the overall analysis/conclusions change only gradually from year to year. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/
- Congressional Research Service (2013): China’s Political Institutions and Leaders in
Charts by Susan V. Lawrence
- Congressional Research Service (2013) Understanding China’s Political System by Susan V. Lawrence and Michael F. Martin (other CRS reports on China can be found in the big list of CRS reports on foreign policy and regional affairs maintained on the Federation of American Scientists website.
- Amnesty International puts on regular human right reports about China in addition to a wealth of bulletins and news items. A search on China on their website would be https://www.amnestyusa.org/search/china/
- The Chinese rights activist Huang Qi put reports of many human rights cases (often peasants essentially robbed of their land) and other human rights abuses on his website http://64tianwang.com/ The English page of the website is at http://64tianwang.com/list.php?fid-13-page-1.htm Only a few of the many Chinese language reports are translated there on the English language page that includes many reports from Radio Free Asia. Huang Qi was jailed last December for his human rights work.
- Yale University professor of finance Chen Zhiwu has written several books that became best-sellers in China that explain why the totalitarian system and weak rights protection seriously harm the Chinese economy. He focuses on economics and business but his arguments closely parallel the arguments human rights activists make. His focus on business and finance must be why his books can be sold in China. I put a summary of one of his books on my translation blog in “Yale University’s Finance Professor Chen Zhiwu on China’s Economy and Its Rule-by-Law Shortcomings”
There has been great hope in both China and the West that China will gradually evolve in a democratic direction. Article One in the PRC Constitution is an obstacle to that could be used to justify nearly anything in the name of protecting ‘socialism’. http://en.people.cn/constitution/constitution.html
Article 1. The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. Sabotage of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited.
There are many brave people who stand up or have stood up to state repression. If people like this do not respond to warnings, pressure is ratcheted up to include police beatings and arbitrary detention. Relatives including children, friends and co-workers may be harassed, fired, or lose their opportunity to get an education in order to pressure them to put pressure on the target of state political pressure.
There is a vigorous exile Chinese-language media in the West. Some of them worked as journalists in China before (see He Qinglian’s book for information on the constraints they worked under) . Angered by their own suffering at the hands of the Chinese regime and having suffered themselves been trained within the Party-run journalism-propaganda complex, they are often not as careful about cross-checking using multiple independent sources as the best professional journalists in verifying information.
Chinese ‘news’ often circulates as often rumor because of heavy censorship. Sometimes true, often false, with many exiles and exile media finding any negative information about the Chinese Communist Party very plausible. Of course the regime is not evil all the time. Even when the Chinese Communist Party and PRC state do good things, they don’t get credit for it because censorship and repression severely reduces their credibility.