Land Commodification: New Land Development and Politics in China since the Late 1990s


This article examines the development of the land market in China since the late 1990s. It analyses new practices in which urban space is commodified through ad hoc market development, and argues that the structure of the land market is indeed becoming more complicated and that land sales are pervasive and rampant. Under such circumstances, the state has rearticulated its function in land governance in order to apply a more consolidated regulatory power. The politics behind the development of the land market and the rearticulation of the state are explored with reference to the changing role of the state in land commodification. It is argued that, if we understand the market as an emerging institution, the development of the market has been supported by the state. Regulatory land control is becoming a new way for the state to be involved in space commodification.