From Asia Times:
China seems to be moving in the direction of a new property law, a need we identified in Part 1 of this report (Hu Jintao and the new China, June 28).
The approval of such a law has been postponed for almost two years because of strong opposition and the great difficulty of setting in order the present chaos of all that could be defined as property in China. One sticking point is the definition of collective property, in which a village controls the local land. How hard should be these rights? Should the rights to such property be divided among the villagers, or merged in the person of the village chief? [Full text]
Also related to land rights, see “Land abuses: Beijing’s cure has side effects” from Asia Times:
Beijing is reportedly considering removing the power to grant land requisitions from local officials, requiring all such permits to receive approval from Beijing, in an effort to halt rampant abuses of power and corruption with respect to land use by local officials.
Unfortunately, while no one denies the seriousness of the problem it is intended to solve, the step runs counter to market-economy principles and has the potential to create other serious side effects.