For centuries, Beijing was closed off to the world, turned inward and literally built around the imperial Forbidden City, the emblem of all that was unknowable about China. But now the capital is reinventing itself to reflect China’s global influence, progress, and prosperity. When Tom Scocca arrived—an American eager to see another culture—Beijing was looking toward welcoming the world to its Olympics, and preparations were in full swing to renew itself.
Scocca discovered a city of contradictions—modern and ancient, friendly yet wary, bold and insecure. He talked to scientists tasked with changing the weather, and interviewed architects; checked out the campaign to stop public spitting; documented the planting of trees, the rerouting of traffic, the demolition of the old city, and the designs of a new metropolis, all the while finding the city more daunting, and more intimate. Beijing Welcomes You is a glimpse into the future and an encounter with an urban place we do not yet fully comprehend, and a superpower it is essential we get to know better.