@ZipLine-- I'm not very knowledgeable about this topic. But my roommate is Chinese and he was saying that in true sense of the world, China is not really a planned economy. It's more like a mixed economy. China participates in the world economy and trades as much as Western countries now. The only reason that it hasn't switched completely to a market economy is because the government is socialist. Socialist countries favor demand economies because they are trying to create equal standards of living for everyone.
I do believe that a free market economy is better because it encourages the economy to grow. There is not much incentive for businesses to invest, produce and trade in a planned economy. I think that China has been able to grow because it moved towards a mixed economy.