Random thoughts: everything you heard about the smog is true, but give credit to many many sanctions the government is trying to implement to change this. On the other hand, it is a very clean county with no littler. There are alot of rules (most of them sensible). I was surprised how little English was spoken unless you were in a tourist building. I was surprised how few "westerners" are tourists. Most of the tourists were the Chinese themselves. People were very kind EVERYWHERE, and happy we were there to visit. Infrastructure is tremendous as far as roads, airplanes, airports, rail. It is modern, clean, easy to travel and very very organized. We flew four times with in the country, rode subways, boats and buses, and never had a glitch. We learned alot about Chairman Mao, good and bad, and there are still many people who were helped by the revolution. China has some wonderful ancient sites and a very complex history of feudalism, dynasties, nationalism, and communism. We touched on all of these as we saw the magnificent Great Wall, Tianamen Square, Terra Cota Warriors, and so much more.
I am really glad I went and got to see it now that it is changing once more. If you dont think much about China, look around your house and cars. I emptied my suitcase in Beijing and 90% of everything I packed, I was bringing back to China!