Eminent Domain Policy
The United States is not the only country that has an eminent domain policy. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Ireland have named this policy “compulsory purchase” (Garner, 1975). The compulsory acquisition of land has become a major issue in Ireland. The Public Infrastructure Project has use compulsory purchase for what has been state as, “to go ahead for the common good” (Garner, 1975). The most widely discussed application of this refers to road improvement schemes and the Dublin Light Rail System project in Ireland. These are excellent examples of the purpose of eminent domain or compulsory purchase. The problem Ireland's citizens are facing is the massive use of compulsory purchase; and since the compulsory purchase is being used for the common good there is almost no argument for appeal.
South Africa calls the policy “expropriation”, and the issue faced with “expropriation” is on a completely different spectrum than in the United States and Ireland. Since the end of South Africa's apartheid regime, whites in South Africa still own more than 80% of commercial agricultural land (Garner, 1975). South African President Thabo Mbeki has endorsed the expropriation of white-owned farms as part of his country's land reform program. President Thabo Mbeki's land reform includes the surrender of white-owned land to be released to the government to redistribute land to black citizens (Garner, 1975).
Eminent domain powers in China are based on the fact that there are no property rights within China's communist system. In an extreme example of issues surrounding property rights in China the term “nail house” is associated with the topic. A nail house in a piece of property the owner refuses to sell in the name of development. The most famous nail house is the nail house in Chongqing, China. The owner, Yang Wu, refuse to sell the home his family has lived in for the past three generations for the development of a shopping mall. The developers dug a 33 ft. deep pit around his home giving the appearance of a nail protruding out of a piece of wood. Despite the troubles, in the name of private property he refused to remove himself from his home for several months until they settled in 2007. As of March 2007 China passed its first modern property laws and follows similar American criteria for taken private property, mainly that the property must be use for public interests.
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