As the political and economic reforms in China1 have progressed rapidly, changes in the Chinese
economy, society, and urban development have been breathtaking. Among many issues related to the
transformation from a planned economy to a market-led economy, the change in the structure of
property rights in land is among the most sensitive. Throughout the history of China, major
political and economic reforms have been accompanied by the reassignment of property rights in land.
It is notable that most land reforms took place almost immediately after the establishment of a new
government, and land reform played a key role in political and economic reforms (Li, 1998). This was
the case in ancient China, and land tenure changes in contemporary China also occurred when the
corrupt Qing Dynasty was overthrown by Sun Yet Sen in 1911, when the People’s Republic of China was
established in 1949, and when an opening-up reform policy was introduced in 1979. It has long been
argued that the failure of the Kuomintang regime was caused by serious income disparity, which was
partly caused by land monopoly by a small percentage of the population, and the Communist Party
succeeded due to its promise to the underclass and farmers that they could own their own land.