Journal of Civil Law Studies


Zhe Huang


social obligations of property rights in China, collectiveownedland, social obligations


This article critically examines social obligations on Chinese collective-owned land. Current social responsibilities on Chinese collective-owned land are inadequate, ineffective, and distorted. Rural property right holders do not owe sufficient social burdens to society. As rural land regulators, rural collectives should have the authority to regulate and manage agricultural land use. Because of the vague and weak identity of rural collectives, collectives have limited authority and resources in restricting and regulating rural land use rights. As rural landowners, collectives violate their social responsibilities by misusing agricultural land and harming society. This article argues that for agricultural land, where physical characteristics of the land are better used in farming, the use restriction serves as a social obligation that conforms to the physical characters of the land. Thus, it is justifiable for collectives or the state to impose restrictions upon the land use rights of agricultural land, especially basic agricultural land—land that is most suitable for farming. The restrictions, however, must be imposed according to physical characteristics of the land, not according to the identity of landowners.

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