The difference I believe is the fundamental "pursuit of happiness". The Chinese have figured out that the basic human need of pursuit of happiness is far more important and it is the root cause of wanting freedoms and democracy.
In todays world - what is the pursuit of happiness? It is the desire to support oneself through a dignified living, being able to raise your family and progress through generations so that you leave your children a better world than yourself.
Now look at these basic principals from the eyes of the Chinese. Just a generation ago, they were toiling in farmlands earning pennies with no progress in sight. But the last 30 years, their government has invested trillions into building their infrastructure, invading the global economy with their goods, building cities from wasteland, and raising the overall standard of living of 1 billion people - all this in less than 30 years!
Compare this to Egypt and we see a government that has loosely tried to "reform" itself, but overall it is marred in corruption where the elite and the military control 90% of the wealth. Religious fundamentalism has grasped aspects of their socio-political spectrum. And of course the political elite did nothing but drained the economy of millions if not billions over three decades.
Essentially both countries over the same period theoretically same governing system, and yet they both took drastically different paths. China has now become a dominant economic power house while Egypt sank into utter chaos last month that has resulted into pressing the reset button for them. In the next 10 years, China will race to the top of global dominance while Egypt will spend it building their systems again (if they are lucky and do not see another corrupt strong man).
The lesson to be learned here is....."the pursuit of happiness" should be the fundamental core of any government's principal. It does not have to come from a US Based Democracy but rather the goal of uplifting your people so that "The Pursuit of Happiness" is realized for each one in their own way.