New Land Reform Becomes Protection of “Enclosure Movement” in Rural Areas!?
Following the closed-door Third Plenary session, the Chinese
Communist Party has been widely criticized for not
fulfilling its previous promises on reform.
In the face of heavy criticism, the party hastily released
the so-called “reform decision” document but still
received little recognitions.
Specifically, experts say that the recent rural land reform
“decision” is no more than policy giving official protection to
interest groups who forcibly seize lands from peasants.
Any real land form must return land ownership to peasants.
The CCP has announced it’s document of the “Decision of
the CCP Central Committee on Several Important Issues of
Comprehensively Deepening Reform”.
From the start, the document uses flashy terms such as
“unprecedented”, “huge determination”, “deep reform”, “wide
influence”, and “focus of world attention” to glorify itself.
However, outsiders say that even putting aside the party’s
tradition of “much said and little done”,
the “Decision” still fails to amount to real reform.
In Article 6, Paragraph 29 of the “Decision”, it says
“Stick to collective ownership of rural lands”,
“Protect peasant’s rights of land contracting”
and “Develop collective economy”.
The party wants to maintain control of and continue
the current land contracting system in rural areas.
Huang Liangtian, director of Chinese website Farmers’
Market Weekly: “I don’t like it. There is no real reform as long
as the collective ownership of rural lands does not change.
Since taking power the CCP has always been plundering
properties for itself via “collectivization”.
Now peasants have to contract with the party for land use.
The party has occupied all land resource and it can give it
to anyone for any time span at will.”
In Article 3, Paragraph 11 of the “Decision”, it says
“Construct a unified land market for construction”,
“Permit transfer, leasing and sharing of collective-owned
farm lands for construction without violation of planning
and use control.”
Huang Liangtian, director of blocked Chinese website
Farmers’ Market Weekly, worries that following that policy
all farm lands in China will only end up
“growing” reinforced concrete instead of crops.
Huang Liangtian: “The announced ‘Decision’ now makes
the previously unclear property rights become clear,
allowing rural land to be sold like urban land.
Who will sell them? Who has the authority to do that?
This is not mentioned.
Therefore the answer is just as usual: governments or
leaders of their rural agencies, the party branch secretaries.
For individual peasants, they are now facing
an even worse situation.”
Chinese column writer Zhu Zhiyong wrote the following
on Weibo: “Another round of great land reform has begun.
After a series of cruel land grabs in cities,
now peasants’ lands have become the next target…
What is the motive of aiming at those poor people’s
only property without improving their rights?
Can the authorities promise to give all interests from land
transfers to rural residents?”
This spring, party mouthpiece Farmers’ Daily published
an article titled “Villages without lands: Who will pay
the bill for peasants?”
The article told the following story in detail. A leader of
an economic development zone persuaded local land
contractors to collectively sign a “letter of authorization
for land transfer”.
Several years later, he secretly retracted villagers’ remaining
16 years of land use and management rights.
Finally, the official sold those tenancy periods to developers
at a price of 200 yuan per mu (about $192 per acre).
Local leaders managed to grab all lands of the village
via land transfer operations accompanied by intimidation,
deception, suppression and every other possible means.
Finally all lands of the village were left unused,
with green fields untended and farmers unable make a living.
Huang Liangtian: “How can a party meeting decide how
to use rural lands?
Once the CCP’s Central Committee says something, a large
group of crony enterprises will flock to seize
rural land resources. This problem has now become very serious.”
Moreover, it is not rare to see peasants being beaten to
death or even buried alive when they resist forcible land
expropriation all over China.
Huang Liangtian says that the only solution to solve
the problem is to return land ownership to peasants
and implement land privatization.
Duan Shaoyi, an MBA instructor of Beijing Normal University,
told NTD that the lad grab phenomenon definitely exists, but
the CCP is very afraid of implementing land privatization.
Chinese economist Hua Sheng recently said in an interview
that land reforms should serve for the country’s hundreds of
millions of peasant workers in cities and farmers.
It should not serve to aid in rural land grabs for capital,
or aid local governments and their officials in making
In this sense, this issue is a real test to the party leaders.