Land reforms have been critical to the development of Chinese capitalism over the last several decades, yet land in China remains publicly owned. This book explores the political logic of reforms to land ownership and control, accounting for how land development and real estate have become synonymous with economic growth and prosperity in China. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and archival research, the book tracks land reforms and urban development at the national level and in three cities in a single Chinese region. The study reveals that the initial liberalization of land was reversed after China's first contemporary real estate bubble in the early 1990s and that property rights arrangements at the local level varied widely according to different local strategies for economic prosperity and political stability. In particular, the author links fiscal relations and economic bases to property rights regimes, finding that more 'open' cities are subject to greater state control over land.
Meg E. Rithmire earned her PhD in Government from Harvard University in 2011 and immediately joined the faculty of Harvard Business School as an Assistant Professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit, where she primarily teaches political economy. She was a Fulbright scholar in China from 2007-8. She is a member of the American Political Science Association (and the Urban Politics section) and the Association for Asian Studies.
1. Property and politics in China; 2. The making of the real estate economy: urban reform and the origins of the party's land dilemma; 3. The political economies of China; 4. 'Land as a state asset': global capital and local state power in Dalian; 5. Property rights and distributive politics: urban conflict and change in Harbin, 1978 to the present; 6. Changchun motor city: the politics of compromise in an industrial town; 7. Conclusions.