Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | 9:00 PM EST - 10:30 PM EST

Every year, more than 4 million rural Chinese lose their most important asset – their land – due to government takings. As a result, land grievances accounted for two-thirds of the 187,000 reported mass protests and riots in China in 2010. Premier Wen Jiabao has announced that China needs to adopt a major new land law and this year is expected to be a critical one for accomplishing reforms that will affect 700 million Chinese. To put these reforms into context, Roy Prosterman and Zhu Keliang presented the findings of a unique field study of farmers’ land rights in more than 1,700 villages in 17 provinces in China. The presentation, held at the law offices of Carter Ledyard & Milburn, covered the reasons for the loss of land and incentives for farmers to make long-term investments in land; the challenges in developing a more equitable approach to urbanization; rural revitalization and stability; and how to ensure secure land rights for hundreds of millions of small farmers and eventually turn them into middle-class consumers and market participants.
BIO Roy Prosterman Founder and Chair Emeritus of Landesa and Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Washington, Roy Prosterman is a pioneering world expert on land reform, rural development, and foreign aid. He is the author of numerous books and research papers on land reform, including the recent One Billion Rising. He has received significant international recognition including two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Roy obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his law degree from Harvard. Zhu Keliang Born and raised on a rice farm in southern China, Keliang has intimate knowledge of the country’s rural society and land issues. As an attorney in private practice, he specialized in real estate law and land use in Oregon. Since joining Landesa in mid-2004, Keliang has accumulated substantial legal and policy expertise on land property rights concerning China and other countries, with a series of published research papers and articles on these subjects. He earned his L.L.B. from China Youth College of Political Sciences (Beijing) and his J.D. from Willamette University School of Law (Salem, Oregon).

Politics & Foreign Relations