Evergrande and Beijing’s Addiction to Expropriation - The Wall Street Journal
Oct. 14, 2021 1:36 pm ET
“Unfinished Buildings Testify to China’s Evergrande Debacle” (Page One, Oct. 5) is emblematic of the economic cost of China’s overheated property-development market. There is a social burden to unchecked development, borne on the backs of millions of rural farmers who lose once-productive farmland to expropriation. Development-related takings are the leading cause of land conflicts in China, which at times boil over into violence. Beijing has wisely taken steps to protect farmers’ land rights in the 2019 amendment to its Land Management Law, tightening the definition of “public interest” land acquisitions and ending the practice of land banking, which encouraged wildly speculative—some would argue reckless—land takings. Such measures might be too late to save China Evergrande Group but will help ensure more sustainable development in the future, and better outcomes for China’s farmers.