Sui (swā), dynasty of China that ruled from 581 to 618. This short-lived dynasty reunified China in 589 after 400 years of division and laid the foundation for further consolidation under the T'ang dynasty. The Sui emperors, Yang Chien (reigned 581–604) and his son Yang Kuang (reigned 604–618), extended the empire, reorganized and centralized the state bureaucracy, and formulated a legal code. The Grand Canal, built to link the two great rivers of China—the Huang He and the Chang—enabled the central government to draw on the rich resources of the lower Chang valley and greatly facilitated the integration of the nation. The Great Wall was refortified, and Chang'an, Luoyang, and Yangzhou were reconstructed. Faced with internal rebellion, Yang Kuang ended his campaigns to conquer the Korean kingdom of Koguryo (612–14). After his defeat by the Eastern Turks (615), he fled to S China, where he was assassinated (618).
See A. F. Wright, The Sui Dynasty: The Unification of China, AD 581–617 (1978).