That last sentence. The one about irony and maxims. I didn't understand it at all.
I'll try to help.
If the irony is only as deep as Beijing's vestigial socialist pretenses...
China still calls itself communist, but that isn't even close to true: it's more of a state-capitalist kleptocracy. The Chinese dictatorship cloaks itself in the old pro-communist rhetoric to legitimize itself, to disguise the greedy truth of how it really does business.
Thus, if accused of a contradiction between their anti-communist rhetoric and their actions, Reader's Digest could say that they're not actually supporting communism, they're just selling out free speech rights to other capitalists for money, which isn't the same thing.
...perhaps a new maxim is needed to embody the power of the printing
press—one less about who buys ink by the barrel and more about who sells
Whereas in the old maxim, "buys ink by the barrel" was used literally to describe the printing process, "sells ink" is here used figuratively to mean "sells out its principles for cash."