The highest class was composed of scholars, for whom the mandarins (government officials) were selected. Next arrived the farmers, the largest group; the artisans ranked third; and the merchants and traders constituted the fourth class. The soldiers occupied the lowest class.
The basis of Chinese society was the family. A Chinese family consisted of grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, daughters-in-law and servants. Family ties were very close. Every member of the family was duty-bound to safeguard the family honor and prestige. If a son did something wrong, he and the family will lose face, that is, disgraced.
The economic life in Old China centered on agriculture. About 80% of the Chinese people were peasants who lived in villages and toiled daily in their small farms. Those without farms were engaged in various industries such as bakery, carpentry, brick-making, weaving and retail merchandising. (Grousset, p. 99)
Hence, there were merchant's guilds, baker's guilds, musicians' guilds, and carpenters' guilds. The guilds fixed the prices of goods, determined wages, and working conditions, and looked after the welfare of the members.
In matters of religion, the Chinese were very practical. They were deeply concerned about the gods, religious dogmas, and the future life. Heaven to them was abstract thing. ...