The Jiangxi Soviet land reform edict (1931)

In November 1931 the CCP committee in charge of the Jiangxi Soviet published the following edict on land reform:

“The peasant struggle launched under the leadership of the proletariat continues to develop and each day rises to new heights. Despite the violent resistance of the imperialists and militarists, the Soviet movement grows and expands. In one area after another the Chinese peasantry, armed and organised in the ranks of the Red Army, casts off the centuries-old yoke of feudal barons and landlords… it confiscates and redistributes the land of these oppressors; it demolishes the feudal order of society, destroys the power of the Guomindang and builds up the workers’ and peasants’ Soviet regime – a regime which will consistently and finally accomplish tasks in the anti-imperialist and agrarian revolutions.

The First All-China Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Peasants’, and Soldiers’ Deputies ratifies the confiscation of the lands of the landlords and of other big private landowners. In order to establish uniform regulations for the confiscation and distribution of land, the Congress… has passed the following agrarian law, which will best secure the solution of the agrarian question.

Article 1
All the lands of the feudal landlords, gentry, militarists and other big private landowners, shall be subject to confiscation without any compensation whatever, irrespective of whether they themselves work their lands or rent them out on lease. The Soviets will distribute the confiscated lands among the poor and middle peasants…

Article 2
The Red Army is the front rank fighter in the defence of the Soviet government and in the overthrow of the rule of imperialism and the government of landlords and capitalists. Therefore, each Red Army man must be given a plot of land, and the Soviet government must see to it that his land is tilled…

Article 4
All the property and lands of all counter-revolutionary organisations and of the military organisations of the White Army, as well as of the active participants in counter-revolution, shall be confiscated. However, exceptions to this rule shall be permitted in the case of poor and middle peasants who have been drawn into the struggle against the Soviets because of their ignorance…

Article 6
All lands belonging to religious institutions or to temples and all other public lands shall be unconditionally delivered into the possession of the peasants by the Soviet government…”