China & Individual Property Rights

My Chinese students are always very interested in learning about American property rights, the powers of eminent domain, what constitutes “public interest” for purposes of eminent domain, whether land can be taken for private interests, what constitutes just compensation for land, and the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The NY Times has a article titled In China’s Land Rush, Rights Are Often Trampled which illustrates their concerns and interest. In China, people can “own” property, but their property rights are always limited by the ultimate authority of the government to take the property to pursue economic or government interests. Tales indicate that compensation to citizens for their land and homes is often inadequate. And notice of destruction and demolition is often brief.

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