In 1927, the Nationalist government launched an ambitious project to transform Nanjing into a modern capital. During this reconstruction process, private lands were seized in the name of public interest for the construction of public works. In the face of opposition from affected landowners, Nationalist leaders shifted the emphasis from 'public interest' (gonggong liyi) to 'public obligation' (shimin zeren), stressing the duty of urban residents to support capital reconstruction and stigmatizing opponents as anti-development. This article examines compulsory land expropriation in Nationalist China and shows how the government turned discourses of public interest and public obligation into modern land laws.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press..