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1950: The Land Reform
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Following the liberation of China in 1949, the central government of the People's Republic of China published a Land Reform Law on June 30, 1950. The law abrogated ownership of land by landlords and introduced peasant landownership. During the winter of 1950-51, land was confiscated from former landlords and redistributed to landless peasants and owners of small plots, as well as to the landlords themselves, who now had to till the land to earn a living. The reform liberated productive forces, increased the productivity of agriculture, and laid the basis for the industrialization of China. The law defined the principles and methods for the expropriation and re-allocation of land. It protected the interests of rich peasants, middle peasants (meaning self-sufficient peasants) and renters of small plots, as well as the national bourgeoisies, so as to preserve and develop the productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Nearly 310 million people were involved in carrying out land reform movement in the newly liberated areas. Around 300 million peasants who had little or no land were assigned some 47 million hectares of land plus farm implements, livestock and buildings. The peasants were relieved of rent payments equivalent to 35 billion kilograms of grain per year.

By the spring of 1953, with the exception of Taiwan and the ethnic minority regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, land reform was basically complete, and the peasants had achieved genuine liberation. The feudal system of landownership that had existed for more than 2,000 years was completely destroyed and the landlord class was eliminated.

(China.org.cn September 15, 2009)


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