Combating Spin – Owning Land in China

The fortress new Zealand nut-bars use the pathetic excuse for their xenophobia of blocking land sells to Chinese owned companies or individuals by saying that we, meaning us Kiwi’s, can’t buy farms in China. This is of course arrant nonsense because it isn’t true in any way shape or form. We saw Federated Farmers on The Nation on Saturday wanting the money but not the buyers, essentially saying that if the eyes were slanted they weren’t interested.

For a start, they explain we can’t buy land in China because all land is owned by the government. If that statement is true then neither can the Chinese own land, they are in effective tenants on their own land which is “owned” by the state through the power of the gun since 1949.

In fact a quick Google search confirms that even Chinese farmers can’t own the land they farm. It is vested in teh State, which we know is ruled by the Communist Party at the point of a gun.

The fact is that despite the country’s unrelenting march towards a market economy, government ownership of the land is such an elemental part of China’s socialist character that the framers were unable to alter the fact and ministries are ignoring the law. In an indication of how controversial the law is, Premier Wen Jiabao did not even mention it in his two-hour opening speech to the 17th Party Congress in October.

Even though Beijing remains deeply concerned about rural poverty and unrest, the government ignored the plight of land-insecure farmers at the behest of the old guard, who have lost dialectical battle after battle since Deng Xiaoping took power in 1978 and set China on its course towards a market economy. For them, private ownership of property would have been the last betrayal of the Maoist revolution. Hundreds of scholars and retired officials signed a petition against the law.

This means the rules are the same for a Chinese citizen as for a New Zealand citizen, or Chinese company vs. a New Zelaand company on owning and farming land in China. You can’t own the land but there is nothing stoppping you from farming there.

This of course is the inconvenient truth that Fortress New Zealanders will not face. These are the same people who no doubt buy shares in Carter Holt Harvey and Fletchers and in the case of Federated Farmers, own shares in Fonterra, all companies that buy and operate land and businesses in other countries.

The simple fact is that we can’t erect walls and stop foreigners, especially yellow ones, coming to New Zealand when our own companies and individuals go around the world buying and building land and companies. The argument that we can’t own land in China is facetious. We have Kordia investing in infrastructure in Burma, where a military junta reigns, we have Fong-terra with substantial business holdings in China anyway, forests in South America and on and on and on.

There are 10,537 shareholders of Fonterra and people are getting their knickers all knotted up about just 1 of those shareholders. Michael Cullen sold Wellington’s power grid to the Chinese with nary a squeak, arguably far more important than a few poorly run farms int he North island.

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