As China gains power - economically, politically, and militarily - and interaction between the Chinese and people outside China increases, it becomes more and more important that we understand the social factors that influence the daily lives of China's population. This new introductory textbook is suitable for all students taking a course on Chinese society. It presents both historical and contemporary contexts and the latest available research findings. With chapters covering many key aspects of life in China - including religion, social policy, and welfare, the history and impact of the Chinese Communist Party, familial relationships, ethnicity, gender, the media and the education system - this textbook gives the reader a user-friendly and comprehensive introduction to the most important issues affecting Chinese society today. It also includes handy pedagogical features such as a chronology of the People's Republic of China, further reading suggestions, and related novels, films, and autobiographies. Armed with such a book, readers will not only gain a deeper understanding of Chinese society, but a rewarding appreciation for the people, cultures, and social organizations of the world's most populous country. Written by a team of contributors from the UK, China, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Understanding Chinese Society is suitable for anyone studying Chinese Society, Chinese Studies and Asian sociology.