Property Rights

Chinese Property Rights

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The picture above comes from China, where a woman refused to sell her house to developers. They developed around her. The pertinent part is that this woman did at least get to keep hher house. Okay, so the family is rumored to have connections in government. The comparison isn't perfect. Still, the photo provides for an interesting contrast between communist China, where there seems to be an emerging interest in property rights, and post-Kelo America, where those rights are on the wane.

ADDENDUM: Comenter "Jake" points to this IHT article which explains that the occupant is a woman, and that she may still lose the house. Gender corrected above.  More here .

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  1. I’d be willing to bet that somehow, some way, Donald Trump is involved.

  2. …and post-Kelo America, where those rights are on the wane.

    Given the response to Kelo in the various states I can’t say that I really agree with this statement.

  3. Didn’t Bugs Bunny pull that one off, too?

  4. “Part of the answer, which takes only a moment to discover upon meeting her, is that Wu Ping is anything but an ordinary woman. With her dramatic look of precisely combed and pinned-back hair, a form-flattering bright red dress, high cheekbones and wide, excited eyes, the tall, 49-year-old restaurateur seems to have missed a calling in the theater.”

    From a lengthy article at the International Herald Tribune. So you got the gender wrong . . try a little harder next time.

  5. Damn. shecky beat me to it.

  6. shecky,
    Yeah, I remember that! What was title to that short?

  7. That looks like something to run past snopes.

  8. “In the end, however, Wu may not win her battle. After she and her husband repeatedly turned down offers of compensation, developers appealed to the local housing authorities, who recently obtained a demolition order from the district court.”

    Perhaps I should read the whole f** article before being a smart ass 😉

  9. That looks like something to run past snopes.

    It has been reported in many venues. Reason is just a little slow getting to it.

  10. That looks like something to run past snopes.

    BBC and many others picked up the story. Looks legit to me.

  11. China’s totalitarians forcibly relocated 300,000 Beijing residents and business owners to make way for the 2008 Olympics.

    Apparently Reason staff need to be reminded that Communists lie.

  12. That picture makes me think of when siblings play the “I’m not touching you! You can’t do anything because I’m not touching you!” game. Sure, you can keep your house. Just….watch your step, the curb is a bit steep. Heh heh heh.

  13. She should dig an 8 level basement.

  14. That looks like something to run past snopes [because] BBC and many others picked up the story.

    Although, actually, since this doesn’t involve the abuse of poor peace-loving Palestinians by savage Israelis, the BBC probably got it right.

  15. okay, serious question:

    would this sort of thing be feasible in a libertarian environment?

  16. There is nothing remotely unusual about developers leaving one house, owned by a hold-out, undisturbed like that. Hasn’t anyone ever seen the famous shots of the two remaining brick row houses in what used to be Boston’s West End?

  17. joe,

    strangely, i haven’t seen the Boston photo. however, i have to think that – absent some public transfer of R.O.W. to the developer – that the holdout would still have access to his/her property.

    that’s why the question was raised in my mind about the example posted being possible in a libertarian environment where there is no public R.O.W.

  18. Apparently Reason staff need to be reminded that Communists lie.

    China is about as communist as the Republican party is libertarian.

  19. “the photo provides for an interesting contrast between communist China, where there seems to be an emerging interest in property rights, and post-Kelo America, where those rights are on the wane.”

    What pure unadulterated crap.

    Do you live on this planet?

    Do you seriously think that property rights in China compare favorably with those here?

    Get a clue.

  20. It reminds me of a saying from the early 1980s, as the Warsaw Pact began to digest itself from the inside out, eventually to leave the Congressional Red Army as the most powerful collectivist group on the planet:

    “By the time the Soviets take over the world, America will be too socialistic for them.”

  21. I won’t go so far as to say that Kelo was a blessing in disguise, but it did spark a very real backlash in many places… Btw, the China-US property-rights comparison seems a tad alarmist.
    The sky is not falling, Radley.

  22. tde > “Do you seriously think that property rights in China compare favorably with those here?”

    No, they are much, much worse. Several farmers near my house (in a small city in southern China) had their farms literally bulldozed around them to make way for high-rise developments. They were unfortunate enough to lack guanxi (connections) with the local Party and city government. Because their tenure on these farms pre-dated the land reforms of the 1950s and 1970s, they were post-facto declared “squatters” and the land belonged to the city. Thus they received no recompense for losing their multi-generation farms.

    Legally, all farmland in China still belongs to the state. Individual rights are granted with “leases” that may extend theoretically into perpetuity.

    Re-imagine Kelo with developers who have such deep government fingers that they can declare the previous landowners “squatters” and seize their property for the cost of an afternoon’s bulldozer rentals. THAT’S what’s happening in China these days.

    10 minutes on Google turned up:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-property16mar16,1,5977932.story
    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=36946

    Dial down the rhetoric, Radley, the US is NOWHERE NEAR this state of affairs

  23. In a libertarian environment, there’d be easements just like in any common law property instance. Simple. And the law of subdividing property generally frowns on owners selling lots which do not have easement (at least) access to a public road. As I see from looking at this pic, her easement still exists. And yes, Buggs Bunny did this.
    JMR

  24. Oh come on! I’m not sure how tongue-in-cheek you are being, but to suggest that this makes American look bad in regard to property rights is just ridiculous.
    No matter how extreme a pro-government position someone might hold concerning eminent domain, such a situation as shown in this picture would never happen here. Why? Because this is a deliberate mocking of the house’s owner by the government. This is a display, for all Chinese citizens to see, that here is what happens to you if you defy the state – you will “win,” but you will still lose, and you will be humiliated in the process. That would not happen here (among other reasons, because the media would be all over it, and because the legislators and the courts would quickly remedy it).
    Our eminent domain laws in this country, despite all the abuses, are something we should be very grateful for.

  25. In a libertarian environment, there’d be easements just like in any common law property instance. Simple. And the law of subdividing property generally frowns on owners selling lots which do not have easement (at least) access to a public road.

    the surrounding property owner would be under an obligation to provide an easement and property subdivision regulations would require these easements to provide access to public roads…in a libertarian environment?

  26. downstater> in a libertarian environment?

    In Candyland there are lollipop trees and gumdrop mountains. What sort of fantasy-land is this ‘libertarian environment’?

  27. confused,

    what sort of fantasy-land is this ‘libertarian environment’?

    not sure if i care anymore because Candyland sounds awesome!

    but to clear it up:

    my understanding is that in libertopia as i’ve heard it called, roads are privatized and private property owners would have considerably more rights regarding the use of their land and considerably less regulation.

    so if there are no public roadways and no requirements on a private property owner to grant an easement across their own property for the benefit of another – couldn’t such a scenario as depicted in the photo above occur in such an environment?

  28. Regarding property “rights” in America:
    Try skipping filing an income tax return.
    Better yet, try skipping a property tax payment.
    Bottom line: there are no longer property rights in the US.
    There exists only the compulsion to pay taxes.
    Land of the free indeed.

  29. @ downstater:

    The concept of easements referred to above is based not on statuatory decisions made by a government but by judgement in common law. “Libertopia” may be less regulated but would still be subject to the rule of law.

    The wikipedia article on easements linked below has background on the subject. I’ve linked directly to the sub-topic on “easements by necessity” as this is the type of easement most germane to this discussion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easement#Easement_by_necessity

  30. One further comment – the image here is a bit misleading, as it gives the appearance that a road leads up to the front of their building (hence sarcasmo’s comment about the existence of an easement).

    The print edition of the Globe and Mail used an alternate image from the other side of the building – the home is actually about 30 feet up from the ground, very much like the Bugs Bunny scenario referred to above.

  31. “Didn’t Bugs Bunny pull that one off, too?”

    So did Patrick Begorah until a few years ago, when it appears Disney finally squashed him.

  32. I see the correct spelling is Begorra. Anyway, he lived under a toadstool on the site of Disneyland. They made a home for him in a hollow log, but they filled it in in 2001.

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