We are accustomed to thinking of ﬁlial piety as one of the elements of Chinese culture that held China together as a society. It made conforming to the requirements of the patrilineal family and the cult of the ancestors seem natural and right. In its more extended meanings, it provided ideological support for social and political inequalities of many sorts, motivating respect for the authority of village elders, landlords, ofﬁcials, and the emperor. In the now somewhat dated language of sociology, ﬁlial piety was functional, not dysfunctional. It worked.