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Drink Water, but Remember the SourceMoral Discourse in a Chinese Village$
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Ellen Oxfeld

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520260948

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520260948.001.0001

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Property Rights and Wrongs

Property Rights and Wrongs

(p.172) Chapter 6 Property Rights and Wrongs
Drink Water, but Remember the Source

Ellen Oxfeld

University of California Press

This chapter examines property disputes in Moonshadow Pond. Its aim is not to determine whose argument was legally correct in a particular case, especially because property rules have changed over time in reform-era China, and villagers do not always make their decisions solely on what they think is lawful. Rather, the chapter's aim is to discern the morality behind different property claims. The chapter concludes by looking at the case of Slippery Cheng, “the Man who sold the collective's land.” As the chapter shows, Slippery's case served as a template for the articulation of several different ideas about property. In the end, when people spoke about his case, their evaluation of how he conducted his social relationships was as important to their judgments as ideas about the legal validity of his claims.

Keywords:   property, disputes, Moonshadow Pond, China, morality, claims, Slippery Cheng

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