Friday, March 16, 2007

China Approves Property Laws

From the NYTimes:

After more than a quarter-century of market-oriented economic policies and record-setting growth, China on Friday enacted its first law to protect private property explicitly.

The measure, which was delayed a year ago amid vocal opposition from resurgent socialist intellectuals and old-line, left-leaning members of the ruling Communist Party, is viewed by its supporters as building a new and more secure legal foundation for private entrepreneurs and the country’s urban middle-class home and car owners.

But delays in pushing it through the Communist Party’s generally pliant legislative arm, the National People’s Congress, and a ban on news media discussion of the proposal, raise questions about the underlying intentions and the governing style of President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, experts say.

First a BIG caveat: I have no knowledge of internal Chinese politics, nor do I have any knowledge of its legal system. Therefore I can't comment on the sincerity of this law.

But, this is a very interesting development from a historical perspective. A passing analysis of democratic development indicates property rights are an essential element in the democratic development. I think you can successfully argue that the growth of the middle class was in fact a primary reason for Democratic development during the Renaissance.