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October 15, 2008
China allows peasants to trade and rent land


AUDIO: Edward Wong of The New York Times reports from Beijing about the impact of land reform on China.


Land in the city of Changshu in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province.

On Sunday, the Communist Party of China passed laws allowing peasants to trade and rent land, though they remain unable to buy or sell it.

Leaders were expected to pass a program that would enable peasants to purchase and sell land, but the issues of purchase and sale have disappeared from public discourse despite earlier coverage. Rumors of disagreement within the Communist Party are circulating.

Some communists argue that “privatization” reforms undercut the party and ultimately strengthen Western capitalism in a country already straddling communist and capitalist systems.

Advocates suggest that the reforms would improve food security and relieve rural poverty.

The “Poligazette” blog writes that new freedoms for China’s villagers are a step in the right direction for the oppressive country.

The “Sinomania” blog writes that reforms are monumental and will “open the door to finally giving rural Chinese what they’ve long[ed] for for centuries — their own piece of China.”

The “China Aid” blog writes about the decision of Hu Jintao — Communist Party general secretary and president of the People’s Republic of China — to support the land reforms despite enormous risk, and argues that the Communist Party is digging its own grave.

China Economic Review’s “Editor’s Journal” writes about the promise of the reforms and their potential effects on the agriculture industry.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user iansand under a Creative Commons license.

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