A term used in both a technical and a general sense. Technically, it refers to one of the major stages of Marxist history (primitive communist, slave, feudal, capitalist, socialist), in China spanning from the 5th century B.C. to the mid-nineteenth century A.D.--over two thousand years. More generally, it refers to a social system or outlook that is backward, oppressive and exploitive. Most Western scholars are uncomfortable with the technical use of the term feudal, since it applies to such a vast span of Chinese history, including many centuries when China was highly bureaucratized.