China Homeowners Live in Legal Limbo - WSJ: "SHANGHAI—A land-title dispute in southeastern China is highlighting a major uncertainty over homeowner rights in a nation where the government owns all the land."
This situation has been the subject of several major revisions in the law over the last twenty years or so. It's a tough one to resolve. The national government wants to have a thriving real estate market, but local governments want to own and lease the land. That is a gross oversimplification but it will have to do for now.