By Erik Crouch
Terraced rice fields in Yuanyang County, Yunnan. Courtesty Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Terrace_field_yunnan_china.jpg
In an attempt to quell a recent spat of protests, the Chinese government has announced plans to reform rural land seizure policy. The legal modifications will provide greater compensation to farmers and make it more difficult for local authorities to requisition land. This move comes in response to waves of protests over the perceived unfairness of current land seizure policies, which are seen providing benefits to the CCP and real estate developers while swindling peasants.
Uprisings over land seizures count for 65% of so-called “mass incidents” and protests in China, and have continually caused a domestic headache for the CCP. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Under the existing law, there is considerable flexibility for local governments to requisition land from farmers, often paying little or no compensation. That has created incentives for local government to sell as much land as possible, underpinning a decadelong boom in real-estate and infrastructure investment. […] Survey work by Landesa found that almost a quarter of farmers received no compensation for land taken from them, and those that did saw only a fraction of its market value.