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Special Feature: The City, Laboratory of the New China

The City as Laboratory and the Urban-Rural Divide

The Revival of Private Property and its Limits in Post-Mao China
Tim Murphy and Ting Xu
p. 26-34


This paper focuses on the revival of private property and its limits in urban China. It explores the emergence of urban property markets; urban property-holding in relation to the complexity of urban governance; “minor property rights apartments” that form a de facto real estate market and cross over the urban-rural divide; the “grey areas” of blurring legal and administrative boundaries in modern China; and recent changes to the rural land system and the rural-urban divide. The conclusion flags the theme of the city as laboratory with regard to the blurring legal and governmental urban-rural distinction.

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Electronic reference

Tim Murphy and Ting Xu, « The City as Laboratory and the Urban-Rural Divide », China Perspectives [Online], 2008/4 | 2008, Online since 01 December 2011, connection on 30 April 2017. URL :

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About the authors

Ting Xu

Tim Murphy

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