Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Transparency in China

When the system is not transparent, observers have to use clues that they think might be relevant to hypothesize about what is going on. Such is the case in China and the mystery of the vanishing rural development land policies.

From the New York Times:

Hints of Discord on Land Reform in China

"Chinese leaders have yet to announce details of a rural reform policy they said they adopted on Sunday, contributing to speculation that Communist Party officials are in disagreement on major aspects of the policy.

"Scholars and analysts inside and outside of China are discussing this week why the leaders have remained silent on the issue. When the Communist Party’s annual four-day planning session began last Thursday, officials in attendance began reviewing a draft of a sweeping land reform policy that President Hu Jintao was believed to have been backing.

"Scholars and government advisers said the proposed policy centered on two major changes: allowing peasants to engage in the unrestricted trade, purchase and sale of land-use contracts, and extending those contracts to 70 years from 30 years. Senior leaders, including Mr. Hu, intended to push the policy changes through at the session, scholars and advisers said.

"But the communiqué issued on Sunday did not mention that particular land reform policy. Instead, the party said broadly that it was adopting a rural reform policy that would double the per capita disposable income of farmers by the year 2020. Xinhua, the state news agency, said the government planned to 'set up a strict and normative land management system.'

"On Monday, the lead editorial in China Daily, the main state-run English-language newspaper, said details of the rural reform policy would be announced within days. That has not happened.

"Some scholars say Mr. Hu, who is also the general secretary of the Communist Party, may have met with strong opposition to his proposal during the session and is still fighting to get that particular policy approved..."

See: We still have to check back on this one

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At 9:09 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

The latest official word from Xinhua:

China political advisors meet to discuss rural reform

"China's senior political advisors convened here on Wednesday to discuss the new Party decision on rural reform and advice on the issue...

"Vice Premier Hui Liangyu was invited to give a presentation of the new CPC decision to the advisors at the meeting.

"In the decision, the CPC summed up the experiences of the past three decades of rural reform, analyzed chances and challenges the country faced and worked out a guideline for the future, Hui said."

Well, that isn't informative. The advisors met and reviewed policies of the last 30 years. Did they decide anything about the next 30? or the next 10? or next year?


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