Base de Datos Género y Derecho a la Tierra


In 2005, the estimated population was 1.323 billion, out of which 643.958 million were women (1). In 2005, the estimated rural population was 782.47 million (1). Women accounted for 48 percent of the rural population in 2000 (2). Population density was 137 people per square kilometre in 2005 (3). The Han Chinese account for 91.5 percent of the total population (4), while 55 ethnic minority groups account for 8.4 percent (5).

In 2006, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at US$2 626 071 million (6), while the per capita GDP was US$ 2 137 (7). The annual average growth was 9.8 percent in 2000-2006 (6). Agriculture plays a main role in the economy, employing 63 percent of the economically active population in 2005 (1). In 2006, agriculture accounted for 16 percent of the GDP, while industry accounted for 47 percent and services accounted for 41 percent (6). Fifty percent of the total arable land is used for cereal production. The main crops include grain crops, cash crops, fruit trees, vegetables, pasture plants and flowers (5). The land and agricultural reforms undertaken in the early 1980s, together with the introduction of economic zones where foreign investment was encouraged and the boom of the manufacturing sector run by town and village co-operatives, contributed to the increase of the GDP, which grew at an average annual growth at constant local prices of 9.4 percent during the period 1979-2004 (5).

With a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.763 in 2006, the country ranks 99th out of 182 countries (8). In 2005, 15 percent of the population lived under the US$1 per day poverty line (9). In 2004, 9 percent of the population was undernourished (9). Literacy rates were 99.1 percent for women and 99.2 percent for men in 2007 (8). The same year, life expectancy at birth was estimated at 74.7 years for women and 71.3 years for men (8).

In 2002, the female labour force was 45 percent of the total (5). In 2000, 69 percent of women workers were engaged in agriculture. Female labour participation rates are higher in rural areas, where 82.1 percent of women are solely engaged in agricultural production, compared with less than 64.7 percent of the male rural population. Women also engage more frequently than men in low-profit and technical agricultural activities and unpaid care work. As the income from farming is lower than that from industry and other sectors, women tend to have lower incomes in rural areas and greater household responsibilities than men (11).

In 2002, farm land was 5 593 570 square kilometre: arable lands represent around 15 percent of total surface area, as most of the country is covered by steep mountains, stony deserts, or dry grasslands (12). Agricultural land is collectively owned and given out to farmers in small plots in 30-year leasing contracts. There are an estimated 1 billion plots of land held by 200 million farm households (13). The average farmland is 0.1 ha per capita (6).

Since the late 1970s, land reforms have mainly focused on land use rights. With the introduction of the Household Responsibility System in 1978, households obtained land-use rights on collectively owned lands managed by village committees (5). In 1982, farmers were given land-use rights for 15 years, later extended to 30 years. In 2008, the Chinese Communist Party issued a land reform policy, which encourages lease and transfer of use-rights by individual farmers, although retaining the nature of collective ownership. Under the policy, farmers are allowed to bypass the village collectives and directly negotiate with the buyers, while non-arable construction rural land acquisition by the local governments is restricted (13).

The 2003 Law on Land Contract in Rural Areas stipulates that women shall enjoy the same rights as men in land contracting and management (5).

Fuentes: los números entre paréntesis (*) se refieren a las fuentes que están en la sección de Bibliografía