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Peasants’ Struggle for Land in China

MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE, pp. 136-160, Yash Ghai and Jill Cottrell, eds., Routledge, 2009

Posted: 25 Mar 2010  

Eva Pils

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, Dickson Poon Transnational Law Institute

Date Written: February 2009

Abstract

Tens of millions of Chinese peasants have been affected by the loss of their land in the past two decades. This has given rise to many disputes, which in many cases have culminated in physical resistance to land takings and evictions. Wrongful takings have been among the factors preventing the development of a sound law on land tenure and property rights. The principal cause of the phenomenon of land grabs is China’s rapid urbanization, estimated to see the migration of hundreds of millions more Chinese people into urban areas within the next few decades. To handle the land disputes in rural China is an important challenge faced by Chinese society. If they are not handled well, the resulting protests may ultimately lead to major social and political upheaval. This paper provides a brief overview of China’s land rights and land tenure system, and of the legal status of its peasants today. It describes how expropriations happen in rural China, and describes avenues of redress and forms of protest and resistance chosen by the peasants in such cases. Increasingly explicit defiance of the written law that provides a basis for land grabs underlines the urgent need for fundamental changes of the current property regime.

Suggested Citation

Pils, Eva, Peasants’ Struggle for Land in China (February 2009). MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE, pp. 136-160, Yash Ghai and Jill Cottrell, eds., Routledge, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1563932

Eva Pils (Contact Author)

The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, Dickson Poon Transnational Law Institute ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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