In Formerly Rural China, the Agrarian Question Threatens to Explode

With development and industrial projects sweeping up disputed land, the land rights movement continues to grow in China. The Chinese government has taking action to punish protest leaders, but journalists and activists are now working with farmers to help them learn about property rights. From Asia News:

Beijing repeats that ownership of the land is “collective” and managed by the government. As a warning, two of the protest leaders, Yu Changwu and Wang Guilin of Heilongjiang, have been sentenced to forced labour. In Shaanxi, farmers who protest have been arrested.

But Chen Yongmiao, a journalist who defends the rights of rural dwellers, tells the South China Morning Post that the farmers are no longer asking merely for protection against abuse, but are demanding “the land [that has been] theirs for generations. Intellectuals have provided them with the idea of private property rights”.

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