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Spike in land abuse cases in China's western regions

By WANG QIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-13 01:26

Chinese authorities are drawing up new land support policies for western parts of the country, following a sharp spike in land abuse cases in the region during the first three months of the year.

In the first quarter, cases jumped 22.4 percent year-on-year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Land and Resources on Friday.

"Due to the focus on development of the western regions, demand for land from infrastructure construction and investment is increasing sharply, putting pressure on land supply," said Yue Xiaowu, deputy director of the ministry's law enforcement and supervision administration.

"This means the western regions need policy support, which is what we are working on," Yue said.

Last year, the ministry held an investigation into illegal land use cases in western regions, studying the reasons for the surge in numbers.

Yue said that besides the increased investment and infrastructure construction, the higher rural population had also caused a rise in abuse cases involving farmland.

According to 2010 statistics released by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, rural people living in poverty made up 66 percent of the population in the west regions, much higher than the country's average ratio of 51 percent.

"Some farmers illegally rent their land for nonagricultural construction, such as building factories," Yue said, adding that educating rural people on land laws is very important.

The latest statistics also showed there were 6,833 land abuse cases recorded across the whole of the country from January to March, involving 2,533 hectares of land, a year-on-year decrease of 18 percent, the lowest amount since 2008.

"The decrease in overall land abuse cases showed the effectiveness in our law enforcement capacity," said Li Junxi, an official of the ministry.

He added that in the future the ministry will release instant reports on large-scale illegal land use cases to the public on its website, instead of just quarterly reports.

Since 2009, the ministry has released quarterly reports on 124 land abuse cases with 442 people punished, according to the ministry.

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