Land reform comin' to China to quell dissent...
China to tackle dissent by amending land law
27 Jun 2009, China on Saturday set out to tackle an important cause of political dissent, which is the heart-burning among farmers over forceful acquisition of their lands and poor compensation paid for it. The government admitted that land disputes were a "factor affecting rural harmony and stability".
Land disputes have resulted in thousands of farmers’ demonstrations challenging the Communist Party’s system of political control in rural areas. The law amendment move shows the central government is sore about the failure of provincial governments to curb misuse of power by local officials in this field, sources said. Official statistics show that more than 50,000 cases of land dispute took place in 224 cities and counties across the country from 2003 to March 2008.
The government said it would standardize the arbitration procedure for settlement of land disputes. It wanted to give "an effective guarantee" to farmers' and make sure that their rights under the land contracts are respected, it said. The amendment comes six months after Minister of Agriculture Sun Zhengcai promised law makers in December that the government would come out with "an important approach" to safeguard rural stability.
The standing committee of the National People’s Congress, which is the main law making body, also decided to abolish eight different laws that have proved to be outdated in the changed circumstances. The abolished laws include those covering police stations, urban neighborhood offices, the use of state-owned wasteland and barren hills by overseas Chinese and the establishment of schools with donations by overseas Chinese, four laws that date back to the 1950s.