Keep Your Hands Off/ Private Property


China has passed its first post-revolution law to protect private property, and the backstory on how is… entertaining.

The leadership did not so much overcome opposition to the property law as forbid it. Unlike in 2005, when leaders invited broad discussion about property rights, the latest drafts of the law were not widely circulated. Several left-leaning scholars, who favor preserving some elements of China's eroded socialist system, said they had come under pressure from their universities to stay silent.

When one financial magazine, Caijing, defied the Propaganda Department's ban on reporting on the matter and published a cover story last week, it was ordered to halt distribution and reprint the issue without the offending article, people associated with the magazine said.

While the law's final wording — and the nature of any compromises necessary to build a consensus to pass it — remain unclear, many mainstream scholars and business people have welcomed it.

Brian Doherty reported on this possibility last week.