The Chinese past is often viewed as a corrupt, ‘feudal’ chaos held back by Confucian thought. However, the imperial Chinese state was also driven by a system of mutual obligation which resulted in a dynamic political and social culture. ‘The old order and the new’ considers how much and in what ways China has changed from the first Chinese first encounter with the outside world up until the first stage of modern mass politics. Western political thought had an impact on China after the Opium Wars in the 19th century. Japanese culture also exerted an influence. The early 20th century was a time of great upheaval for China, fostering many political debates on topics such as nationalism, socialism, and feminism.