Rural Land Rights Certificates Should Safeguard Women's Legal Interests: Expert

April 22, 2016
By Li HuiyingEditor: Yang Yang

Sociology Professor Li Huiying, from the Party School of Central Committee of the CPC recently spoke to China Women's News and gave her opinion on women's legal interests in the process of the country's rural land rights confirmation.

At present, work on rural land rights confirmation and registration is aggressively being undertaken across the nation in order to respond to the call of the central government on completing the confirmation and registration of rural land contracted management rights in five years. The government issued the original directive in 2013.

Unreasonable Phenomenon in Rural Land Rights Confirmation and Registration

Professor Li said that in the process of urbanization, although some people have swapped their rural hukou (residence permit) for an urban-registered equivalent, they still occupy the rural collective land resources and have their names on the land certificates. In other cases, some people are farmers, but have no rights to get the contracted lands due to their "gender" or the identity as the "additional population". Li summed up the situation in four categories:

Firstly, 18 percent of married rural women do not have their names mentioned on either their parent's families or their husband's families land contracts.

Nearly 53 percent of married rural women's land contracts were canceled by their home villages, according to an investigation among 1,126 such women in 21 provinces and municipalities nationwide, as conducted by the Center for Women's Studies at Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC in 2014.

On the basis of the principle of rural land rights confirmation certificates in some provinces, the certificate is only issued to a person who owns the land.

Next, the names of college students and public servants are on many land right confirmation certificates.

Some 20 percent of college students and 58 percent of postgraduates, as well as some public servants with non-agricultural identities possess land use contracts in rural areas, according to a questionnaire covering Guangdong, Beijing, Hebei, Yunnan and Zhejiang Provinces, which was also conducted by the Center for Women's Studies at Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC in 2014.

Thirdly, the report also showed that late family members' names also can be seen on the land use certificates.

In some counties of Hebei and Sichuan Provinces, deceased householders' names still can be seen on the land use certificates.

Based on the requirements, names of family members under 20 cannot appear on the certificates or can indicate their status as "landless".

Finally, the report found few women's names on the land use certificates.

Where there is an issue regarding payment of land acquisition compensation, or the transfer and mortgage of lands, such situations require the signature of the householder in a family. However, 99 percent of householders are male, which leads to women and children's rights being easily ignored or infringed.

Land Rights Confirmation and Registration Should Safeguard Women's Rights and Interests

In consideration of social fairness in the process of land rights confirmation and registration, Li proposed that certificates should be issued on the premise of a farmer's status, the registration information of family members should be updated due to marriage, birth, death, career and other legal and social facts.

In addition, Li also proposed that both the names of the husband and the wife should be specified as a joint signature on the certificates of common family property so as to protect women's legal rights properly.

(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Gender Study Network)

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