Policy Forum

Securing Land Rights for Chinese Farmers: The Progress So Far

April 6, 2009 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT

Auditorium/Wintergarden

Featuring Roy Prosterman, Chair Emeritus, Rural Development Institute; and Zhu Keliang, East Asia Program Manager, Rural Development Institute; moderated by Ian Vasquez, Director, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute

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Between 700 and 800 million Chinese, more than half of China’s population, are still rural. Economic reforms have helped Chinese farmers, but rural China is falling further and further behind urban China. The lack of land rights for rural Chinese is a major cause of the disparity and a major source of social instability. Secure land rights would allow farmers to increase investments, improve productivity and accumulate wealth. In recent years, the Chinese government has passed laws to make those rights more secure. Based on their 2008 survey of farmers in 17 provinces, Roy Prosterman and Zhu Keliang will assess the current status of farmers’ rights, document ongoing violations, and propose policies that would do much more to give farmers legal security in their land.