Equality is a modern goal of all sorts of societies, both dictatorships and democracies. Chinese society has changed profoundly in many ways in recent decades. ‘Is Chinese society modern?’ analyses relations between men and women, countryside and city, and duties and obligations of the state and people in order to see how far Chinese society has become modern and whether this is at odds with the maintenance of the Chinese identity. There are aspects of contemporary Chinese society that have not changed: religious practice, preferences for male children in the countryside, and stress on hierarchy. Other aspects have seen massive change: a globalized economy, the language of equality and rights, and the closeness of the state and the people.