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Gender and Land Rights Database

China

Civil society and indigenous people’s organizations advocating for equality of land rights

- More than 7 300 women’s organizations were registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs by the end of 1999. The four types of emerging women’s organizations were: service-oriented, occupation-based, research-oriented, and project-based (11).

- The All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was formed in 1949 with the objective of promoting the state policy on gender nationwide. ACWF structure consists of local women’s federations and group members. The local federations are set up according to the state administrative divisions.
ACWF has about 60 000 federations at or above the township and neighbourhood level, 980 000 women’s representatives’ committees and women’s committees at the grassroots level, and 5 800 local group members at various levels.
ACWF has promoted and participated in the process of drafting the Program for the Development of Chinese Women, as well as in the revision of the Women’s Law, amended in 2005. ACWF has put forward proposals for decision-making bodies in critical areas of concern, such as women’s rights to contract land (11).

Local decision-making organizations and women’s representation in them

- The Village Committees, established by rural residents on the basis of their place of residence, are mass organizations of self-management at the grass-roots level, as defined in Article 111 of the Constitution. The residents elect the chairman, vice-chairmen and members of each village committee.
The Village Committees establish committees for people’s mediation, public security, public health and other matters in order to manage public affairs and social services in their areas, mediate civil disputes, help maintain public order and convey residents' opinions and demands and make suggestions to the people’s government (14).

In most village committees, the number of women representatives still does not reach 30 percent in decision-making bodies. Although many villages have female members in their committees, only 1 percent of the heads of village committees were female as of 2002 (11).

- Village People’s Councils are self government structures directly elected at the village level to manage common property (31).

- The Village People’s Mediation Committee is appointed by and works under the aegis of the Village People’s Council to mediate in local disputes. It is responsible for cases which normally fall into the categories of personal and family law: family, inheritance of property and marital disputes; neighbourhood quarrels; personal credit; boundaries of plots (31).

Legal Information and capacity development on land rights

- Women’s organizations have played an important role in providing legal aid for women. ACWF and local women’s federations officially opened 2 700 legal aid centres for women and agencies for protecting women’s rights in 2004. However, the centres are generally insufficiently staffed and funded (11).

- Special courts, hotlines and complaints centres have been set up to facilitate women in filing complaints and bringing lawsuits forward. Infringements upon women’s rights and interests are resolved through village committees, legal facilities and grass-roots women’s federations (19).

- More than 10 Government ministries, including the Ministry of Agriculture, are collaborating with the All-China Women’s Federation on a long-term basis in conducting a learning campaign for rural women. Over 120 million rural women have participated in cultural and practical training. The Government also provides training in practical technologies to rural women and ethnic minorities through rural broadcast schools and correspondence schools. Since 1999, 63 million women have participated in training for new technologies; 650 000 women have obtained the title of agricultural technician, and 1 625000 women have obtained a certificate of achievement in agricultural technology.

- The Government also conducts training in rural areas to raise women’s awareness of the law and to eliminate discriminatory traditional ideas and customs (19).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography