China’s leaders are pondering how to solve a simmering problem which is increasingly worrying the country’s home owners – what to do when decades-long private leases on land expire.
All mainland Chinese land is state-owned, but use rights for periods ranging from 20 to 70 years have been granted since the 1990s.
The low end of that range came to national attention in April, when the eastern city of Wenzhou told local homeowners who held 20-year usage rights that they had to pay a third of their homes’ value to renew them.
That sparked an outcry from middle-class families across the country who have poured their savings into property, the ultimate fate of which has never been fully resolved under Chinese law.
The central government’s powerful State Council is researching how to extend usage rights for urban land, according to an official dispatch by the official Xinhua news agency which provided little detail on what measures might be adopted.
The guidelines, which state media said were published Sunday, appear to pick up on a 2007 property law which asserted land use rights could be renewed, but failed to specify how that would happen.
They also include exhortations to limit the conflicts that arise from ubiquitous government land grabs, as well as calls to grant greater property rights to farmers. But there was no indication Beijing intends to grant farmers full private ownership of their plots, collectively ownership of which enabled local officials to expropriate land in the first place.