Chapter 1 Introduction
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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.