[JURIST] A new law protecting private property in China took effect Monday, after it was approved [JURIST report] by the Chinese National People's Congress [official website] in March. Chinese lawmakers considered the bill for over 13 years and it underwent multiple drafts [JURIST report] before legislators agreed on a final version. The law grants equal protections to both public and private property and states that the "property of the state, the collective, the individual and other obliges is protected by law, and no units or individuals may infringe upon it."
The absence of clear-cut property laws in China [JURIST news archive] has meant that local officials could expropriate property from businesses and private citizens without compensation and convert it into commercial real estate. The law was supported by China's entrepreneurial community and is the first first bill in China's history to specifically protect private ownership. Xinhua has more.