Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Rural land transfer to help farmers

By Wang Cailiang (China Daily) Updated: 2013-12-10 06:40

The Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, issued by the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, highlights the CPC's efforts to ensure that rural residents enjoy an equal share of the fruits of modernization.

The document issued by the plenum says: Form a construction land market that unifies urban and rural areas; allow the sale, lease and demutualization of rural, collectively owned construction land (where buildings can come up) under the premise that it conforms to planning and use control; enlarge the area in which State-owned land can be leased and reduce land allocation that does not promote public welfare; establish a distribution mechanism of value-added income from land that takes into account the State, the collective and the individuals, and improve individual benefits reasonably; and upgrade the secondary market for land lease, transfer and mortgage.

The decision to allow the transfer of rural construction land has once again drawn the public's attention. In China, urban land is owned by the State while rural land is normally under collective ownership. Under the current land regulations, the transfer of rural construction land is strictly controlled. Though only farmers have the right to use such land, they cannot directly transfer or mortgage it. Existing laws prohibit transaction in the rural construction land.

Collectively owned construction land in rural areas must first be acquired by a local government and become State-owned land before being transferred to a realty developer for construction. Such a system complicates the transfer procedure of rural construction land, severely compromising farmers' economic interests and obstructing the industrialization and urbanization process in rural areas.

The problem, therefore, is how to protect farmers' interests in the transfer process and allow them to more liberally use their land-use rights, which would boost the rural land market and facilitate economic development.

The existing land regulations, which impose strict control over the transfer of rural construction land, go against some provisions of the Constitution and the Property Law, resulting in meager compensation for farmers. This is unfair and not conducive to social advancement.

For a long time, experts have been urging the authorities to lift the restrictions on rural land transfer. In 2004, the State Council issued the Decision on Deepening Reforms and Strengthening Land Management, which emphasized that the right to use rural construction land can be transferred according to the law if all planning requirements are fulfilled.

But the regulation on the transfer of land-use rights has not been implemented because of the lack of an applicable law. In 2008, the CPC decided to gradually build a unified market for urban and rural construction land. In the plenum's document, the word "gradually" has been deleted and the official wording is to build a unified market for urban and rural construction land. Therefore, direct market transactions in rural construction land are now feasible. The question is: When will the decision be implemented?

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News
New type of urbanization is in the details