China promised an open Olympics for the media, and to promote human rights and democracy, in its bid for the Games. To see if it was true to its word, BBC Panorama reporter John Sweeney spent five weeks criss-crossing the country, following the torch relay.
Fang Zheng is the kind of person who sums up the Olympic ideal. He lost his legs in what was, officially, a "traffic accident" and subsequently won golds in an all-China competition.
But when the torch came through his home town of Hefei, he was not there.
Fang's story tells you something about just how open modern China is.
"It wasn't a traffic accident," he told me. "The truth is that on June 4th 1989 when I was withdrawing from Tiananmen Square, I was chased from behind by a tank and both of my legs were crushed."
The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre is still officially taboo in China. Hundreds died - nobody knows how many - but effective censorship means that millions of Chinese know nothing about it.
Fang, 41, continued: "When the tank crushed me, I was still conscious and I could see the white bones of my legs."
At this Yang Meng, our official "co-ordinator" - foreign journalists based in Beijing do not usually have a minder, but because we were following the torch we did - interrupted the filming, saying "this is a sensitive issue" and asking if we could skip the subject of how exactly Fang came by his injuries.
Fang says he was disqualified from ever competing for the Olympics because he lost his legs at Tiananmen Square.
When challenged about human rights, the Chinese Communist Party says it has taken 300 million people out of poverty - the most basic right of all.
Evidence of China's amazing economic boom is all around you in the big cities like Beijing, Guangzhou (Canton) and Shanghai.
And in rural China, people who can remember starving as recently as the mid-1970s now go well-fed.
China is changing, but still there are no free, national votes, the internet is censored and, according to Amnesty International, the number of journalists and dissidents in jail in the run-up to the Olympics is rising.
We did hear a former, provincial Communist Party leader in Shaanxi openly question the centre over compensating local farmers for his area's environmental clean-up - something that would never have happened under Chairman Mao.
And there have been steps towards basic, village democracy in rural areas.
But there are limits. In Tai Shi, a village on the edge of Guangzhou, people tried to vote out their local party boss, Chen Jingshen, in 2005, after accusing him of corruptly stealing their land.
The outcry led to massive social protests followed by a brutal police crackdown on villagers and activists who had supported them.
Three years on, we went to Tai Shi to see how much progress towards grass roots democracy had taken place.
An official said we could not interview Mr Chen, checked my passport and, when we told him we planned to talk to the villagers, said: "No, no, no."
We left and were followed by two unmarked cars with blacked-out windows. We did a U-turn and passed the two cars in the other direction.
They also did U-turns. We did another U-turn. So did they. I knocked on the window of one of the cars: "Why are we being followed? Is this an attempt to intimidate me?"
pledge 信物,證明[C][(+of)] 保證,誓言[C][+to-v][+that]
Tiananmen Square 天安門廣場
Chinese Communist Party 中國共產黨
economic boom 經濟起飛
Amnesty International 國際特赦組織