Tuesday, January 31, 2006

China overtakes France

Back in December 05, I noted that China had overtaken Italy in economic size.

New economic figures for China show that its overtaken France as the world's 5th largest economy. It should also overtook the UK this year.

I do note that one of the issues facing the Chinese is land grabs. I had heard that land grabs happen there, I didn't realise that it was considered a major problem.

All counties have methods for the compulsory acquisition of land. Here(au) it gets used for public infrastructure. New roads, road widening, future dams, that kind of thing. Here, it's also in the basic law that there must be fair compensation.

In China, a place without a strong rule of law tradition, government at all levels can and do routinely move people off land. This is done 'in the national interest', but when the land is given to commercial ventures (with officials pocketing yuan), it's just a fancy cover for what is corruption. Often a people affected are peasants. For these people, it is stealing their life savings usually with token compensation.

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