What rural reform is about, and what it is not
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-28 07:50

The central leadership has offered rural people new land policies to boost reform and development.

Based on recent talks given by Chen Xiwen, veteran rural policy researcher with the central government, China Daily explains what the policy is about and what it is not.

The central leadership has pledged "long-term stable and unchanged" land management rights. The current law stipulates that farmers can use and manage their land for 30 years. The proposed term, however, is still to be written into law, and could even make the land use right inheritable.

The policy sets about new forms of land management rights, including leasing, sub-contracting, swapping, and shareholding.

It proposes that the acquisition procedure of farmland for non-farm use be tightened.

But the new proposal in no way intends to change the collective ownership of land because it only talks about land use and management rights.

The proposal allows to lease out land under their management to others for a specific reason, as has been the long existing practice.

It does not give the right to farmers to use land as collateral for debts.

The proposal does not mean farmers can indulge in unbridled transferring and acquiring of farmland for other non-farm use.

Though the proposal allows farmers to transfer and acquire management rights of farmland, it will not necessarily lead to creation of large farms.

And there are no indications that small-plot farming will no longer be the mainstay of Chinese agriculture.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/28/2008 page7)

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