China's burgeoning middle class will be feeling a little more secure next week, when the National People's Congress is expected to pass the country's first property-rights bill. The measure has become a lightening rod for criticism of China’s leadership, with communists using it as evidence that the government is abandoning the largely rural poor, and urban property owners clamoring for faster economic reform.
The bill offers little to China's beleaguered peasant farmers. Unlike urban car owners—whose rights to the parking spaces around their high-rise buildings are clearly delineated in the bill—China's farmers get murky promises to long-term leases, and no protection from government land grabs. Says The Economist wryly: "No revolution today then."