From the Publisher. Everyone is talking about China; everyone wants to understand China: is its rise a threat or an opportunity for the West? To answer this one may accumulate statistics, study imperial history, and analyze geopolitical configurations. But what is missing are the real stories of the lives of the Chines people. What does it mean to live in a country with one billion three hundred million countrymen? To be the leaders, as well as the victims, of the biggest upsets in economic, ecological, and social history? To have a cultural tradition that is thousands of years old denied, but never completely wiped out, and be exposed to the wildest lure of global capitalism and consumerism? Author Giampaolo Visetti lived for years in a Beijing hutong near Houhai Lake, behind the Forbidden City. He traveled across the country and heard thousands of stories as he sought, with curiosity, empathy, and sometimes surprise and worry, to understand the Chinese—from his wealthy neighbor to a humble taxi driver.