What does it mean to be Chinese? How did the major political events of the early 20th century affect the everyday lives of ordinary people in China? This book uses a wealth of new sources, including newspapers, memoirs, interviews, and photographs, to look at the political history of theperiod and to understand the ways in which politics intersected with the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people. To be a modern citizen of the Chinese republic meant repudiating much of the very ritual that had previously defined one as Chinese. As we follow the changes in everyday life, rangingfrom the unbinding of women's feet to the commemoration of the events of the a new republican history, we see the complex interactions between an ever more activist state and its new citizens.