This volume concerns the rights and obligations of the individual in three critically important contexts: employment relations, family relations and the ownership of immovable property. The development of these legal institutions has helped to transform economic and social relations in contemporary China. In this volume, the articles illustrate firstly a shift away from close state control towards greater freedom for enterprises to use human and natural resources to achieve economic growth and for citizens to pursue their personal lives. More recently, the government has responded to public demands for greater security in employment, home ownership and agricultural land rights with new primary legislation, including the Employment Contract Law and Property Rights Law. Yet, as this volume also shows, the Communist Party has been reluctant to allow empowerment of the individual to threaten other public policy goals, such as the state's ultimate control over the conditions of employment or land use.