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 550 million people still live.

Secure land tenure is increasingly recognized by China’s central government as a powerful tool to address the fundamental cause of rural poverty and revitalize rural development. Through a series of recent historic legal and policy changes, which are in line with 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 seven surveys of farmers in 17 provinces across China, and other field research, Landesa provides assistance to Chinese officials and leaders to ensure progressive laws and policies are further improved and more fully implemented.

Our Progress

Landesa has acted as an advisor to rural policy makers in China by providing data-driven solutions to strengthen land rights for over two hundred million farming families. The legislation Landesa has supported includes:

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    The 1998 Land Management Law granting all Chinese farmers 30-year rights to the land they farmed
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    The 2002 Rural Land Contracting Law prohibiting all land readjustments during farmers’ 30-year tenure, except in rare circumstances, and providing a wide range of protections against various forms of violations
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    The 2007 Property Law, which defined farmers’ 30-year rights as usufruct property rights and made such rights renewable upon expiration
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    The Chinese Central Government’s 2015 policy requiring women’s names to be included in land registries – thereby protecting women’s land rights
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    The 2017 Amendment to the 2012 Rural Land Contracting Law requiring names of all members of the household, including women, on the household’s land certificate, and prohibiting taking back farmers’ land rights when they migrate to cities
  6. icon notebook
    The 2019 Amendment to the 1998 Land Management Law limiting state land takings to an expressly defined list of public interest, and substantially improving farmers’ rights to due process in land takings