Most of our Beijing interviews took place on the eve of the 2008 Olympics, when the city was bustling with excitement in anticipation of the festivities. New construction projects designed by internationally renowned architects were being commissioned and completed every day. Old taxicabs were being replaced by a new, shiny, and sharply bi-colored fleet. Subway commuters were being taught the habit of queuing to enter trains. These and many other efforts were intended to bring the city to a state of public perfection, ready to be showcased as China’s prosperous modern jewel of a capital.