A Chinese Approach to Land Rights: How Bo’s Chongqing Model Exposed an Economic Reform Program in Crisis

  • Kamyar RazaviEmail author


The Leninist governance model in China gives CCP officials huge discretionary powers. Liberal market reforms are promoted to enhance economic growth and the legitimacy of the ruling regime while retaining the façade of a socialist state. This model hinders the development of a legal system that is at arms length from the political apparatus. I argue that China has largely abandoned its welfare-state principles to promote capital accumulation. This program of economic development has had a devastating impact on the environment, human rights, and the legal system. This essay examines the problem from the perspective of land rights with particular emphasis on reforms carried out in Chongqing. Land reform programs attempt to reconcile socialist values with market efficiency but with mixed impact both in terms of efficiency and social welfare. They have boosted economic growth but have also exacerbated inequality and the gap between rural and urban living standards. The disparity between urban and rural land rights has taken on added urgency in China in recent years, but until the state openly acknowledges “market Leninism,” economic reform in China will remain an instrument of, and for, the state and its Party officials.


Supra Note Chinese Communist Party Civil Code Rural Land Property Ownership 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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