There was a feudal system well established in Ancient China, long long before it was the norm in medieval Europe. the Lords had to be obeyed and served by their military, landowners or farmers gave their produce to the overlord in return for protection.
It was a stable system for the most part, but with wide divergences between the rich and the poor. There was also the power of the Shamans who could bring rain, it was believed, amongst other wonders like healing and telling the future. Shamans were sometimes dangerous figures. They were thoght vital for the success of a community,
The aristocrats were very powerful during the Zhou dynasty. At the early state of the dynasty, the king had control and owned all the land. He gave out large portions of the lands to the aristocrats in exchange for soldiers.
Centralized power decreased throughout the spring and autumn period because very large portions of the lands were under control of the aristocrats. Over time, the Zhou court had little control over the constituent states and they were at war with each other in order to gain more power for themselves.