I have to say that I see the problem as much simpler than any political historical thing. I think it is more about the business culture in the particular institution, and aspects of Chinese business culture.
Universities are not businesses. The quality of management in the public sector is often lower. Hierarchical systems do suffer from poor management, group think and resistance to change. Add 'face' to the equation and the office politics get worse. It was also pointed out that nepotism is an issue.
The systems may be poor, but many staff will criticise it. It would not be in their best interest to criticise a system that they have no power to change.
The university I worked at before, in a tier 3 city, was very political. There were things that just would not happen. Anything that would in any way change any admin procedure would never happen. Most Directors had come from the admin stream. Admin held the power. Teaching was secondary. In other universities the power base will be somewhere else. I just learned the system there and worked it as best as I could.
A third element also touched up is expectations. In the west we expect certain levels of service and accountability as a given. Here in China expectations are rising, but they are not yet at US levels.
And again, as said above, TIC.
My two cents.