China will not end the decades-old policy on rural land
ownership, which says that rural land is collectively owned by
villagers instead of individual farmers, since the rule "meets the
requirements of Chinese farmers for development."
"China has chosen it, due to a historic lesson," said Zheng
Xinli, deputy director of the Research Institute of the Communist
Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Wednesday.
Zheng spoke at a press conference sponsored by the Information
Office of the State Council, which invited the senior researcher to
help explain interesting points in the Report of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of
Zheng told reporters that private ownership of land had
persisted for thousands of years in China's feudal period, which
had resulted in the fact that rural land turned out to be mostly
owned by landlords, while peasants were impoverished and lost
everything if they lost their land.
"It is the historic lesson," said Zheng, "China's socialist
system and the Constitution have ensured the collective ownership
for rural land."
Under the Property Law, houses owned by Chinese farmers legally
belong to them. But farmers do not own farmland, although they have
the right to use and manage it.
Currently, farmers have a 30-year land contract, officially
known as the first-round contract. Upon completion of the first
round, they can extend their contracts for another 30 years, Zheng
Government policy allows farmers to transfer their land and thus
allow experienced farmers manage a larger area of cultivated land,
to increase farming efficiency. Farmers who have let out their land
under this kind of arrangement have turned to work in the
industrial and tertiary sectors.
The Report proposes the establishment of markets for transfer of
land management rights among farmers. It means that farmers not
only have the rights to use and manage farmland, but also they
would have the rights of transferring the rights to use and manage
the land, Zheng noted.
(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2007)