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China: Construction of a Socialist Countryside

Agrarian reform in times of financial crisis

The timing has been perfect: In the middle of October, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China approved a reform proposal that will allow farmers to lease or transfer their land rights. Called a “historic” decision by some observers, the Chinese government announced it as Chinas contribution to counter the financial crisis and to stabilise the global system by giving a fresh stimulus to economic growth. But the more important driving forces for it are the growing rural-urban inequalities, the widespread protests by farmers about alienation of land by officials and the need to modernise Chinese agriculture. A report by Uwe Hoering

 

Possibly, the global financial crisis put pressure on the party leaders to announce the decision right now. But the debate about rural reforms has been a long – and controversial – process. May be more important for the announcement was a historic anniversary: 30 years ago, another major act of rural reforms marked China's first step towards economic liberalisation ...

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