China’s National People’s Congress officially passed a landmark law that strengthens private property rights, despite opposition from left-wing intellectuals who claim it will accelerate the gap between the rich and poor.
The law — passed on the closing day of the NPC’s annual session — intends to safeguard the assets of China’s growing middle class by reassuring them their property rights are secure and strengthening protection for private businesses, a sector that accounts for 65 percent of China’s gross national product.Supporters of the law claim it could help reduce disputes over property that have become the leading cause of social unrest in cities and the countryside when farmers are pushed off their land to make way for housing and factories, often with little or no compensation. [Full Text]
– See also a Los Angeles Times article on the same topic, which says:
Although a law addressing property rights shows at one level how much has changed in China, experts say it hardly represents radical reform. Politics still often trump legal considerations.
What the legislation does is give legal status to market-oriented changes long evident in Chinese society, benefiting a class of people who are most capable of organizing and may one day challenge the Communist Party’s hold on power…
The law does not address protections for poorly educated and weakly organized farmers whom corrupt officials are forcing off rural land in growing numbers. [Full text]