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Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD)

The disunion of China ended with the establishment of the short-lived Sui Dynasty. Historians usually compare it with the Qin Dynasty in terms of its short tenure and tyranny. The first emperor of the Sui Dynasty re-implemented the centralized administrative system of the Han Dynasty and resumed the process of giving examinations to identify the best-qualified people for civil service. There was also a re-establishment of religion. Confucianism regained official religious status. Buddhism was acknowledged as a new ideology, and flourished. The Sui Dynasty made remarkable economic and cultural achievement.

Grand Canal,built in the Sui DynastyDuring the Sui Dynasty, farmers were burdened with heavy taxes and compelled to work a certain amount of time for the emperor. The completion of the Grand Canal, the longest man-made canal in the world, and the restoration of the Great Wall had badly depleted the government's monetary resources. The Sui Dynasty emperors had big ambitions for extending their territory, but their military expeditions to conquer Vietnam and Korean ended disastrously. The emperors' ambitious projects and military campaigns led to the downfall of the Sui Dynasty. Though it only lasted 37 years, it laid a solid foundation for the successive Tang Dynasty to achieve the most glorious heights of China's imperial era.