More than a decade after hosting the Olympics, China's showcase city remains at a crossroads, says Chris Leadbeater

Just inside the lobby of the Peninsula Beijing, an older gentlemen in a flat cap is drinking green tea. His knees are squashed to the table, the bowl held to his face by a meaty hand. His eyes are closed in appreciation — and, for a moment, I am sure I hear a slurping noise.

I do not, of course. Such behaviour has no place in the reception of this five-star haven, with its chic guests and branches of Versace and Chanel.