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Two Large Cities in China Introduced Laws to Allow Seizure of Private Property to Contain Coronavirus

The authorities in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two of China’s top four mega cities (the other two being Beijing and Shanghai) were given the power to requisition private property when they deemed it necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The standing committee of the People’s Congress in Guangzhou and in  Shenzhen made the announcement on February 11, 2020. Both cities are located in southern Guangdong province.

The private property which could be seized, according to decisions of the People’s Congress of each of the two cities, includes houses, facilities, transportation vehicles, and other equipment. Government officials also have the authority to order companies to produce supplies which they think should take priority in containing the spread of the coronavirus.

In 2007, China’s National People’s Congress passed a national law to protect private property. This is the first time local governments cited an emergency clause in the private property law stating that the property of companies and individuals can be requisitioned.

Local authorities have been given the power to quarantine suspected patients and to screen all residents.

1. Excerpt in Chinese:




Source: Guangzhou City People’s Congress Website, February 11, 2020

2. Excerpt in Chinese:



Source: 21 Jingji, February 11, 2020