The Newsletter 52 Winter 2009

A tale of two systems: questioning land tenure reform in China

Yongjun Zhao

China maybe transforming into a fullyfledged market economy, but there are still many who see the commune as the only safeguard of land rights and livelihoods. At the same time, the market-oriented individualist approach to land tenure reform – subcontracting land to individuals – appears to work against sustainable rural development. Yongjun Zhao examines the case of Yakou village, Guangdong, which provides an alternative model of land tenure reform: a combination of commune ownership, management of land resources and a collective approach to taking full advantage of the market.

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