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Shenzhen Launches Major Land Reforms
Summary:A pilot project aimed at reforming how land is managed in Shenzhen was officially launched on May 25.

May 25, 2012
Translated by Song Chunling

A pilot project aimed at reforming how land is managed in Shenzhen was officially launched on May 25. The pilot, which could see changes to the status of "minor property rights," is likely to set the path for broader nationwide reforms of land management, according to Securities Times, a financial paper published by the People’s Daily Group.

The pilot reform project aims to solve existing problems related to land management, promote a more market-led approach to the distribution of land, encourage more efficient use of land and also strengthen the legal proceedings related to land management.

In terms of details, the scheme will focus on eight priorities including the improvement of the system of property rights and a shift to the market allocation of land resources.

As part of the reforms, Shenzhen will introduce new methods to solve the problems associated with structures built on rural land that are currently in a legal gray area, often referred to as "minor property rights" (小产权房).

The reform will introduce new methods for holding land auctions and the income from property developments will also be more fairly shared among the government, community, property-right holders and property developers.

Local governments will also be given more freedom to manage land.

It's understood that the Shenzhen Municipal Government has not released any new land for residential use in almost four years and that the city has been relying on the upgrading of old housing to meet demand. However, given the problems associated with negotiating compensation for demolishing existing land, not much progress has been made on this front. The new rules will likely give a legal base to the push for new housing developments.

The land reforms are planned to be conducted over two periods, a near-term plan that will run from 2011 to 2015 and a longer-term plan that focuses on the 2016 to 2020 period.

Links and Sources
Securities Times:  深圳土地制度改革再次示范全国
Economic Observer: Cai Jiming: China Must Reform Rural Land Rights
Jones Day: Resolving the Minor Property Right Problem in China

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