1898 Jan 01
New Territories and outlying islands Land Tenure, before 1898
With a view to increase land tax revenue for British Empire, then Colony Secretary for Hong Kong in 1900,, with the assistance of Mr. Messer and Mr. Tsoi, prepared a Memorandum of Chinese Land Tenure of for submission to then , .
In brief details, ” Chinesewill not be passed to female, only through the male line. Title deeds are often in perpetuity or for 1,000 years. Many deeds were registered in Ka Tsing years of Ming dynasty (A.D. 1519-1626) and recognised by .
Ching government stipulated all farm lands must be registered with authority or risk the chance of repossession for resale once discovered by government. In reality, many farm lands were registered in a much smaller than their actual size.
Land with fertile soil and near water supply to yield 2 crops of rice annually is considered 1st class farm land. Farm land on slope and relatively far from water supply, yielding 1 crop of rice per year, is considered 2nd class. Land on hilly area far from water supply is considered 3rd class. Fish pond is top class land, whereas building land and others are lowest class of land.
Red deeds means title deeds with Official Stamps in red from Ching government and registered with authority. White deeds are title deeds in private agreement not registered with Ching Government. Government will only recognize and collect Crown Rent on Red deeds.
Landlords has Ti Kwat (地骨), the right to receive rent, tenant has Ti Pi (地皮), the right to cultivate, this double ownerships has caused many dispute.
Small village where farm land is located usually has security problem making villagers looking up to big clans for protection. They also pay land tax through these big clans, who most often have members as officials in the government. But then these big clans did not usually registered farm lands with authority.
Villagers did not claim these farm lands as their own, in fear that Ching government would repossess these land as a result of non payment for land tax. They would then lose the farm land and livelihood.”
Henry Arthur Blake
Last edited by Cheung Chau Magazine on 2013 Oct 21
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