The collapse of the central government from 907- 960 is the period of time between the T'ang and Sung dynasties.(1) During this period five dynasties developed in northern China and ten kingdoms in southern China, each of which struggled for the power of China (2). There was no unified imperial government.
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The dissolution of the T'ang dynasty in 907 led to the uprising of five dynasties in northern China. These five dynasties came to power under several different families and were unsuccessful in unifying China. After the last emperor of China stepped down, Chu Chuan-chung took over the throne. As a result of this, the dynasty of Chu Chuan-chung was formed. "This new dynasty was called the Hou Liang dynasty." (3) "As a ruler Chu Chuan-chung was troubled by external foes and by dissension in his family and in 914 was murdered by his eldest son, who feared for his own succession to the throne." (4) The Hou Liang dynasty was unsuccessful in unifying China and lasted only thirteen years. It was taken over by Shih Ching-T'ang in 936.
Shih Ching-T'ang founded a new dynasty called Hou Chin or Later Chin which lasted only eleven years. The successor to the throne was to be the son of Shih Ching-T'ang. In despite of his authority, his son was taken into captivity leaving the throne vacant and open to neighboring peoples. The throne was then "occupied in 947 by Liu Chih-yuan, of Turkish descent. Liu Chih-yuan formed the dynasty known as the Hon Han or Later Han." (5) Liu Chih-yuan's son and successor to the throne was killed by a general in 950. There was no one left in Liu Chih-yuans family to take over the throne, so once again the throne was vacant.
In 951, a new leader came into view. It was a commander who lead a very successful expedition against the Khitans, who invaded China and established the Liao dynasty in AD 905. The commander was raised to the throne by his soldiers. He gave the name Hou Chou or Later Chou to this dynasty. In 954, the commander died and the only person that was able to take the throne was his adopted son. His son did take over but was not successful in unifying China and the minor who followed was powerless to do so.
After the failed attempts to unify China, ten kingdoms in the southern China arose. These kingdoms were: Wu, Wu Yeuh, Nan (southern) T'ang, Ch'u or Hunan, Ch'ien (earlier) Shu, Hou (later) Shu, Nan (southern) P'ing, Nan (southern) Han, Min, and Pei (northern) Han. This time period, from 907-960 was full of attempts trying unify China, fifty three years passed by and no one leader was able to unify and successfully rule China. The period from 907 to 960 was a period of struggle and unsuccessful leadership.