China will pass legislation designed to ensure that farmers' rights to use land under contract will not be changed for at least 30 years.
A draft law on contracted use of land in rural areas was tabled Tuesday at the 22nd session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature.
According to the rules of the draft law, the term of the contract of land use on a household basis in rural areas should be "at least" 30 years.
China began to adopt the contract responsibility system based on household management in rural areas more than 20 years ago. Under the system, farmer households struck contracts with rural authorities to use and manage land for their own benefits. In 1993, the government decided to extend the term of such land use contracts by another 30 years.
However, some local authorities arbitrarily shortened the term of contracts and frequently changed the ownership of land use rights with administrative decrees.
In order to address this problem, the draft law stipulates that ownership of the rights of land use cannot be changed before the expiration of the contract. The draft law stipulates that within the valid term of contracts, the contractors cannot take back their land and that the farmers can legally transfer, re-contract, put into share-holding ventures and exchange the rights of land use.
The draft law also recognizes the existing land use contracts that farmer households signed with rural authorities according to government regulations.
Liu Suinian, vice chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of the NPC, said the passage of the law will have great significance for promoting agricultural development, increasing farmers' incomes and maintaining social stability in rural areas.