Farmers Rise In Challenge To Chinese Land Policy – Edward Cody (Updated)
The Washington Post is the latest to write about the nascent land rights movement in China, in which farmers have collectively resisted local government efforts to take over farmland and have redistributed the land among themselves:
The redistribution exercise at Changchunling was not an isolated incident. Rather, it marked what appears to be the start of a backlash against China’s system of collective land ownership in rural areas.
The uprising began here in the frigid, snow-covered soybean fields around Fujin city, 900 miles northeast of Beijing in Heilongjiang province, close to the Russian border. In a few weeks, it had spread to half a dozen other areas around the country, raising fundamental ideological questions for a government that still describes itself as Marxist-Leninist after 30 years of economic reforms. [Full text]
Update: Read also a Vancouver Sun report on the government’s reaction to the farmers’ actions:
The Chinese government has moved swiftly and decisively to try to smother a growing movement demanding the privatization of farmland.
The State Council, equivalent of the Cabinet Office, in Beijing last week reaffirmed Communist Party doctrine that land in China is owned collectively. [Full text]
[Image: A meeting of farmers Dec. 19 in Changchunling, via the Washington Post]