What We DoLandesa in China

Securing land rights for the world's poorest people

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The largest and most successful poverty alleviation program in history

Over the last 30 years, hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted above the poverty line. But China’s modern cities and buzzing factory floors belie an uncomfortable truth, that the country’s rapid modernization has largely bypassed the countryside, where more than 600 million people still live—200 million of them living on less than $2 a day.

Secure land tenure is increasingly recognized by the national government of China as a powerful tool to address the fundamental cause of rural poverty. Through a series of recent historic legal and policy changes, guided in part by Landesa’s research and recommendations, the Chinese central government has laid the foundation for rural development.

These historic legal changes, if fully implemented, can help smallholder farmers spark and sustain broad-based development in China, fostering a more equitable and stable society. Through its six surveys of farmers in 17 provinces across China, and other field research, Landesa helps Chinese officials and leaders work ensure their progressive laws and policies are further improved and more fully implemented.

Results from Landesa’s 17-Province Survey on Rural China Land Rights – 2011:


Support China’s Central Government in its efforts to ensure that all of China’s 200 million farming families have secure land tenure and can invest in their land to improve their harvests and their lives.

Our Progress

Landesa has acted as an advisor to top national policy makers in China, providing data-driven solutions to strengthen land rights for tens of million farming families. The legislation Landesa has supported includes:

  • The central government’s 1998 Land Management Law granting all of China’s farmers 30 years rights to the land they farmed
  • The central government’s 2002 Rural Land Contracting Law prohibiting all land readjustments during farmers’ 30-year tenure, except in rare circumstances, and providing for procedural protections for farmers
  • The Ministry of Land and Resources 2004 Regulation requiring farmers to be informed of their right to a hearing on compensation
  • The Property Law of 2007 making farmers’ 30-year rights to their land extendable
  • The Chinese Central Government’s 2008 policy recognizing farmers’ rights to forestland
  • The Chinese Central Government 2014 No. 1 document requiring the effective protection of women’s rights to land
  • The Chinese Central Government 2015 policy requiring women’s names to be included in land registries –thereby protecting women’s land rights

Read More: Landesa in China Fact Sheet