An article published last year on transportation in China at Yale's Environment360 site. It's optimistic about the chance for China to take a better, cleaner path.
"Chinese mobility isn’t yet fixated on cars, except maybe in Beijing, where pro-car policies mean that new highways are built as quickly as old ones fill up. An enlightened car policy is key. Stronger metropolitan institutions such as regional planning commissions are needed to protect the environment, manage land development, and provide public transportation. China’s increasingly entrepreneurial culture must be allowed to leapfrog to new technologies that thrive at home and could be exported abroad, such as lightweight, plug-in hybrid vehicles, new electric-car infrastructure advances, and real-time, wireless travel information devices.
Will China actually play a leadership role in transforming vehicles, fuels, mobility, and land use? We think so, for a variety of reasons. For one, some in China are beginning to recognize the Faustian bargain of automotive industry success. They gain jobs, but suffer a raft of environmental, social, and even economic problems. China’s strong national and local governments could pave the way for precedent-setting fiscal and regulatory policies, such as emission-indexed vehicle user fees. The Chinese government is capable of strong and effective intervention, as demonstrated with its one-child policy. Imagine a similar policy applying to car ownership."
Also of note:
China is "well positioned to respond to internal demands and international initiatives. Novel technologies are already sweeping China. Electric two-wheelers are the most successful mass-marketed battery-powered electric vehicles in the world, with sales exceeding 15 million in China in 2007. They have immediate air-quality benefits, set the stage for a shift toward cleaner three- and four-wheel electric vehicles, and accelerate the development of the low-cost battery sector.