ISSN 2286-976X (Print)
ISSN 2539-5513 (Online)
RANGSIT JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
RANGSIT JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES (RJSH)
Volume 1 Number 2, July - December 2014
The Problem of the Relationship between Land for Construction and Farmland inChina’s Socio-Economic Development
The study is about China’s problematic relationship between land for construction and farmland. Land use policy has reacted to economic reforms already underway to control losses of farmland caused by changing models of development. Policy and legislation were in reaction, for example, to what was seen as out-of-control entrepreneurial development in the countryside of the 1980s, and also later to the consequences of industrialization and pro-urbanization programs brought about by the devolved fiscal system of the 1990s. Socio-economic development came to be funded through local governments’ expropriation and capitalization of collectively-owned farmland through its release to urban land use markets. At the same time a national land use policy of ‘requisition-compensation balance of cultivated land’ was said to be necessary to ensure China’s food security by fixing a minimum ‘red-line’ amount of farmland reserved for agriculture. The present critical policy analysis provides a case study of the central government’s reactions to changing local conditions that badly affected farmers and their livelihoods. Socio-economic divides between the countryside and the city only increased and cash-strapped local governments have since become burdened with debt because of a ‘land finance’ model of development that was no longer sustainable after the economic slowdown of 2008. The new leadership plans a different approach to socio-economic development and increasing urbanization, but farmland itself remains under ‘strict control’ of the state in China’s particular approach to reform.