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What is a period of disunion?

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Periods of disunion are considered exceptions to the rule, flaws in cosmic order, by traditional Chinese thinkers because of the cultural assumption that the world should be united under the rule of the Son of Heaven.

The core rationale of traditional Chinese government, ever since the early Zhou (c. 1025 BCE) has been the idea of the Mandate of Heaven. This holds that Heaven grants a single family the right to rule the human world on its behalf, conditional on competent rule. If the people suffer under bad rule, Heaven will withdraw its Mandate and chaos will ensue...

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The period of disunion occurred after the collapse of the Han Dynasty between 220 and 589. China was split into several rival kingdoms, each ruled by military leaders.