MJIEL Vol 12 Issue 2 2015 - Article 4

A Political Study on Foreign Ownership of Land:
Theoretical Challenges and Justifications
 
Xiaojing Qin
 
ABSTRACT: Challenges to foreigners’ rights to land have built up over a long time and the institutions which support them will continue to exist for a long time. The long-standing challenges relate to the fact that land is politically significant as it sustains the state’s territory and thus the privilege to acquire land should be granted exclusively to national citizens who are politically allegiant to the state. This paper examines the issue of foreigners’ land ownership rights from a political perspective. It first reviews traditional political challenges to foreign land ownership which are examined and tested consequently. The examination of the political arguments indicates a changed role of land in the new market setting and an on-going change in terms of the political value the land represents, among which the economic value of land is increasingly taking a more prominent role compared to its political value. It concludes by stating that political challenges affecting foreigners’ access to land ownership may not be justified in the new era of globalization and therefore the restrictions imposed on foreign land ownership as a result of political concerns may not be maintained by the states.

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