No, China is not communist and stopped resembling in even being a communist nation of sorts (even socialist) after Richard Nixon went to China to meet with the very late in tenure Mao Zedong in the 1970s and later Deng Xiaoping. The meeting was for North American and European industrialists, financiers and royals to exploit slave labour and have China as a belligerent towards the USSR at the behest of NATO in turn like they did with Germany in the 1930s and 1940s at the behest of the League of Nations. The Lima Agreement was signed to contribute to that as well. Recently China as been accelerating to neoliberalism from Classical and haphazardly Keynesian economic policies. They still do retain the communist insignias, symbols and aesthetics (very likely as to quell revolt from rural China as Mao Zedong too was from a rural area
They participated in supporting the Khmer Rouge along with USA in an attempt to stifle the USSR, its allies and socialism (universal healthcare, universal education, socialised medicine, work rights, sick leave, holiday leave, public holidays, parental leave, right to join a union, minimum wage, fair pay for fair work, work safety etc.). China could have prevented the Vietnam war by refraining from partitioning Vietnam into North and South Vietnam with the other Geneva Conference countries following the Korean war (Southern Vietnam, like South Korea, were vehicles which their institutions could launder money for the Chinese diaspora in South East Asia and the USA similar to Hong Kong - viz a viz HSBC -, Singapore and maybe Macao). China even supported Augosto Pinochet and his government with the USA after China and the USA agreed on investment deals. China even attempted to encroach on Soviet territory.
Your dad's gripe with the way they treat their people was something that the MSM were frustrated into covering those events relatively recently as documentaries and investigations emerged about the sweatshops in China. Meanwhile North American and European industrialists, financiers and royals that have a stake and interest in China support it. Its convenient for the them to distance themselves from the conditions in the sweatshops and Chinese society which appears in their estimation the authoritarian government, a authoritarian government "gets things done" (for them! And for them only at the expense of others). They know that Adolph Hitler as Chancellor and the NSDAP was "profitable" for them "back in the day" with the pittance pay to German people and slave labour camps which their supplied the resources. The Chinese government and cronies have a plan to make China a superpower and the cabal that has been funding it doesnt care if China is belligerent towards the USA or UK. They could just move to "cosy" Shanghai or some other Tier 1 Chinese city in the event.
The despite all that the ones that support China a some kind of bastion of socialism and communism, and a "good actor" tend to be newcomers that just accept China at face value and aesthetics; scholars, professors and authors that seek to have and keep access to the Chinese market for ticket revenue, appraisals, book sales and celebrity status, Chinese government shill, people that have business prospects interests in China dependent on the "good behavior" of their home country (otherwise they get tariffs, duties, levies and even suspensions) and LGBTQ+ that want to "score" a Chinese boyfriend/girlfriend.
Imperialism and the Revolution CHINA'S PLAN TO BECOME A SUPERPOWER
Pretty much, it doesnt exist as the MSM portray it to be nor does mainstream political discourse (despite the grains of truth among the lumps of fiction).