I am not a fan of reading too much into the journey between the airport and a capital city. It flatters dictators with aspirations of grandeur and seldom is an accurate reflection of a county. Some experiences however stand out.
Arriving in Beijing recently I turned up to to passport control and was greeted by 'Good Afternoon!'. The 2008 Olympics have clearly focused the minds of all agencies in China but my surprise over the welcome was completely overshadowed by my amazement seeing a survey tool build in to the passport control cabinet.
That's right,the panel says 'How satisfied were you with the service?'. Very happy | happy | unhappy | very unsatisfied. Smiley faces that allow you to feedback on how friendly and helpful the officer was. Oh if these existed in the US.
I should be clear - you can not vote until you have your passport back. The buttons simply do not light up.
This of course does not outweigh not being able to log into Wikipedia and the BBC - both of which were blocked on my short stay but it is striking.