This article, based on newly opened archives, explores the rights of tenants in the neighborhood of Chongqing during the late-eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Changes in tenancy arrangements are discussed within the context of Chongqing's role as the main transshipment center for rice and goods from Southwest China to the middle and lower Yangtze. By the 1820s there was a tendency toward the collection of fixed rents in kind. Rent deposits, a major source of liquid capital for landlords, became an almost universal feature of Baxian leases. High deposits encouraged subletting and multiple tenancy, but appear to have provided little security of tenure. The large collection of lawsuits in the Baxian Archives allows an examination of the treatment of tenants in the magistrates' court and of the rights of persons who had disposed of land by means of conditional sale (dianmai).

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