In China, I've found that even when an apartment has been cleaned for you before moving in, it is nowhere near as clean as the state my friends and I would leave our apartments in when we moved out in the U.S. I've never had to pay a security deposit in China (though I've heard that some landlords do ask for them). It seems to be more the rule of thumb here that if you want a clean place to live in, you've got to make it that way yourself. Even if the landlord or your place of employment hires an 阿姨 (auntie) to clean or a cleaning service, most likely they aren't going to do more than a surface cleaning.
In every apartment we've moved into in China (5 now), the freshly "cleaned" apartment has still come with caked-on layers of grease on pretty much every kitchen surface and lots of dust/dirt in any out of the way place. The worst was a few apartments back, when we found tons of dust, old wires, and discarded cigarette packs on a high shelf above the bed we were going to sleep on. Matt's hypothesis was that the workers who built the shelf/bed left their junk there and it hadn't been cleaned for at least six years (because we knew the family who lived in that apartment for six years before we moved in and they didn't smoke).
That experience made me realize that maybe other people don't go as all out cleaning a new apartment when they move in, and maybe I have a touch of OCD, but it just weirds me out to know that strangers' dirt, grease, hair, and cigarette packs are hanging out in the room where I'm going to be cooking/eating/sleeping. So, the first thing I do whenever we move is go into ninja cleaning mode. I'm talking toothbrushes, SOS pads (that we bring in from the U.S. because China doesn't have good alternatives that I've found), disinfectant cleaner, the whole nine yards. This is why it generally takes me a good month or two to get a new apartment totally set up. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it for my peace of mind.
So, with that background knowledge, here's a photographic and video journey through my cleaning party over the past few months: