China approves key land reforms

Communist Party okays plan that would allow farmers to trade and mortgage their land rights.

    Analysts say the government is trying to bridge
    the rural-urban income gap [EPA]

    According to Dang Guoying, a rural scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, farmers will now be able to trade, rent and mortgage their land use rights for profit in a land transaction market.

    "The move will speed up the country's urbanisation by bringing more farmers to the cities with the big farm contractors promoting modern farming in rural areas," he told the China Daily newspaper.

    Parliament approval

    Russel Leigh Moses, a Beijing-based academic and China expert , says policies approved by the party are traditionally placed before the National People's Congress, China's parliament, for approval when it holds its annual session next March.   

    "I don't think we will see anything specific until the NPC next year when they start to set out the legal framework and when we will  be able to see more of the internal debate over the programme," he said.
      
    State media has said that building large-scale industrial farms is seen as key to China's long-held policy of remaining self-sufficient in grain production, and being able to feed its population.
      
    Most of China's farm plots are small and held individually at a time when hundreds of millions of farmers are leaving the land to seek better lives in the nation's quickly developing urban centres.
      
    According to China's constitution all land is owned by the state, so the reforms under discussion are not expected to result in private ownership of land.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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