People walk on the Bund, the riverfront area next to the financial district in Shanghai. Many foreigners have descended on Shanghai to make money on China's economic expansion. NPR's Frank Langfitt met one such woman as part of the free taxi rides he's been offering. Aly Song/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Aly Song/Reuters/Landov

NPR's Frank Langfitt has been offering free taxi rides around Shanghai to talk to ordinary Chinese. He drives a Camry around the city, but rented a van for a trip 500 miles outside the city earlier this year. He recently decided to buy a car, which can be a complicated process in China. Yang Zhuo for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Yang Zhuo for NPR

Sun Jianguo (left), from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy, chats with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in May during the ministerial luncheon at the 14th Asia Security Summit in Singapore. Each country has grown increasingly wary of the other's actions and interests in the South China Sea. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Wang, a young human rights lawyer, argues that Chinese people have to push the government to build a system of rule of law. She did not want her full face shown to protect her identity. Frank Langfitt / NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Langfitt / NPR

The Dzungar army surrenders to Manchu officers of the Qing Dynasty in 1759 in the Ili Valley, now part of China's Xinjiang region, in this painting made several years later by Chinese and Jesuit missionary artists. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

itoggle caption Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall. Chinese censors cut a scene from the movie that they thought made China look weak. Because China is such a huge market, some U.S. moviemakers may choose to avoid portraying China in negative terms. Danjaq/Eon Productions/The Kobal Collection hide caption

itoggle caption Danjaq/Eon Productions/The Kobal Collection

The twisting Shanghai Tower (right) is the world's second-tallest building and opens soon. Shen Zhonghai/Gensler hide caption

itoggle caption Shen Zhonghai/Gensler

Joel Xu, 25, drives in Shanghai for People's Uber, a ride-sharing service. He makes about $4,000 a month – a good wage in Shanghai – and loves meeting new people he'd otherwise never encounter. Frank Langfitt/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Langfitt/NPR