I see Eric X. Li being categorized toward the “Panda Hugger” side of a spectrum. I don’t think tossing him into the entire category works. He is certainly a supporter of the Chinese political system, but he explicitly stated that it isn’t necessarily the only system that can work well. He was just making an argument against broad claims that one system is best.
I was most persuaded by the percentage of high government officials that didn’t come from privilege in the Chinese system, assuming his data collection methods are robust. As long as government corruption continues to decrease, as determined by a legitimate third-party organization, westerners should be very receptive. However, I believe groups who ideas are least represented by our elected officials will be the most receptive at any given time.