Tuesday, October 9, 2007


As it is reported, commented, and known by many by now, China’s new Property Law became effective as of October 1, 2007. Promulgated in context of growing private property ownership and changing political views regarding same, the Property Law has become a focus of academic discussions and has fused a flurry of lawsuits in China. In my 1L (first year law school) property class, Professor Tate introduced me to the Toddler’s Property Law, and it has since stuck with me. Before I introduce a few interesting cases freshly filed in China, I figure that sharing the Toddler’s Property Law could help people understand what Chinese litigants might be arguing about in terms of their views on property ownership.

Here it goes:

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks like it's mine, it's mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If I can see it, it's mine.
10. If I think it's mine, it's mine.
11. If I want it, it's mine.
12. If I "need it, it's mine (yes, I know the difference between "want" and "need"!).
13. If I say it's mine, it's mine.
14. If you don't stop me from playing with it, it's mine.
15. If you tell me I can play with it, it's mine.
16. If it will upset me too much when you take it away from me, it's mine.
17. If I (think I) can play with it better than you can, it's mine.
18. If I play with it long enough, it's mine.
19. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it's mine.
20. If it's broken, it's yours (no wait, all the pieces are mine).

(See May It Please the Court Weblog)

In my next post, I will blog about a few cases involving joint ownership and whether the new law is applicable to disputes predating its promulgation.

Please check back later.

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