Analysis; Property Law - Ends Debate on Economic Political Way for China

Manila Bulletin, March 18, 2007 | Go to article overview

Analysis; Property Law - Ends Debate on Economic Political Way for China


Byline: BILL SMITH Deutsche Presse-Agentur

BEIJING (dpa) - The passing of a controversial law to protect private property marks the end of China's debate about the direction of economic development and the underlying ideology, supporters say.

''The revision of the property law delivers an important political message that China will stick to the direction of (economic) reform and opening up,'' Yin Tian, a legal expert at Beijing University, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The National People's Congress began discussing the draft property law in 2002 and has since reviewed it an unprecedented seven times, mainly because of opposition within the ruling Communist Party from members who believe the law leads the party away from its founding principles.

''The difficulties before 2005 were basically technical problems,'' Yin said.

''After 2005, the main obstacles to the revision of the property law came from interruptions by leftists,'' he said.

The passage on Friday of the property law, with 97 per cent of the 2,800 delegates voting in favor, was a ''signal of further reform and opening up,'' NPC Standing Committee member Liu Hezhang said.

It suggests that ''China will not start a new round of the 'capitalism or socialism' dispute,'' Liu told the official Xinhua News Agency.

The leftists' objections to the law were popular ''for a certain time'' because they connected the property law with ''growing social conflicts'' and the protection of ''illegal income,'' Yin admitted.

''The leftists think (economic) reforms have cost too much and that weak groups in our society have lost out,'' said Yan Yu, a specialist in enterprise management at Beijing University.

State media gave no coverage of the long debate before and during this year's annual NPC session.

But leftist party members were allowed to post articles and comments on websites such as Maoflag, which claims to uphold the spirit of former leader Mao Zedong.

The intra-party debate over the direction of China's economic and political development actually dates back to the late 1950s and came to a head with the ''ultra-left tendency'' of the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, according to the Communist Party's official history. …

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