The Agrarian Reform Law (1950)

Excerpts from the Agrarian Reform Law, promulgated by the government of the People’s Republic of China in June 1950:

General Principles

Article 1. The land ownership system of feudal exploitation by the landlord class shall be abolished and the system of peasant land ownership shall be introduced in order to set free the rural productive forces, develop agricultural production, and thus pave the way for new China’s industrialisation.

Confiscation and Requisition of Land

Article 2. The land, draft animals, farm implements, and surplus grain of the landlords, and their surplus houses in the countryside shall be confiscated, but their other properties shall not be confiscated.

Article 3. The rural land belonging to ancestral shrines, temples, monasteries, churches, schools, organisations and other land owned by public bodies shall be requisitioned…

Article 4. Industry and commerce shall be protected from infringement. Industrial and commercial enterprises operated by landlords… shall not be confiscated…

Article 6. Land owned by rich peasants and cultivated by themselves or hired labour shall be protected from infringement… But in certain special areas the land rented out by rich peasants may be requisitioned with the approval of the people’s governments at provincial or higher level…

Distribution of Land

Article 10. All land and other means of production thus confiscated and requisitioned… shall be taken over by the hsiang [peasants’ council] for unified, equitable and rational distribution to poverty-stricken peasants who have little or no land and who lack other means of production. Landlords shall be given an equal share so that they can make their living by their own labour and thus reform themselves through labour.”