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Property rights, governance and socio-economic transformation: the revival of private property and its limits in post-Mao China

Xu, Ting (2009) Property rights, governance and socio-economic transformation: the revival of private property and its limits in post-Mao China. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines the nature of property rights in historical and contemporary China. The principal question addressed in the study is: what is the nature and significance of the re-emergence of private property in the context of rapid socio-economic change in post-Mao China. In examining this issue the dissertation looks beyond established dichotomies in Chinese law such as 'public versus private', and explores the manner in which the Chinese define ownership and leave the boundaries between the public and the private in property rights unclear. This study concludes that while there is a limited move towards the recognition of private property in real estate in contemporary China, ownership in the law, and ownership as understood and practised socially, often diverge significantly. Since the late Qing, 'modernist' law and entrenched social practice have often opposed each other. In contrast to the official, and indeed legal, support for unitary and exclusive property rights, the reality of the property regime (from late imperial China to the present) has seen the fragmentation of property rights. The reasons for the contradiction between the legal and the social understanding of property rights include tensions between economic reform and ideological commitment to socialism, and blurred boundaries between formal and informal institutions in post-Mao China. 'Modem' conceptions and theories of property rights emerged in the context of nation-building from the late Qing onwards, and unitary and exclusive property rights were considered as 'badges' of modernity. These conceptions and theories served (and still serve) the purposes of control and governance but were, and still are, often resisted in social practice and popular thinking, leading to alienation and conflict. As such, the nature of private property and its social and political implications provide an important vehicle for analysing the changing nature of modern China.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, Asian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Law

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