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The diversification of land transactions in the Qing Dynasty

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There were three kinds of financial transactions involving rights of land during the Qing Dynasty: debt financing through rights of land, the direct transferring of the rights of land, and the transaction of shares. This article attempts to clarify the confusion between several types of debt financing through rights of land. Ya 押 was loan through land as guaranty and repaying the interest and capital by the rent of land or harvest. Dian 典 was loan through temporary transferring of usage rights and harvest in a certain period of time. Dang 当 referred to various types of loans which involved the rights of land. Di 抵 meant using a certain portion of land right as repayment of debt. Similar with modern financial methods, these financial transactions in the Qing Dynasty allowed peasants to preserve their possessive rights over the land and also satisfied their financial needs. The direct transactions of rights of land and repayment of debt by harvest included juemai 绝卖 (finalized sale of land), huomai 活卖 (not finalized sale of land), dianquan dingtui 佃权顶退 (sell or purchase tenancy), zhaojia 找价 (price add-on after transaction), and huishu 回赎 (redemption). The main purpose of these transactions was to protect the land proprietors as far as possible. Share transaction and co-tenancy of land also appeared in the Qing Dynasty. Such diverse financial transactions not only were substitutes of modern financing tools which allowed peasants to weather financial hardship, but also promoted the changing ownership of land which further encouraged the combination of different production elements and reallocation of resources in the land market.


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