BEIJING - China will continue to ban land expropriation for the purpose of
building villas, golf courses and training centers for government departments
and institutions, sources with the Ministry of Land and Resources said on
This echoes the 2007 land use plan recently released by the ministry.
According to the plan, the area of farmland that can be used for new
construction projects should be roughly the same as last year. In 2006, new
construction projects devoured 288,000 hectares of Chinese farmland.
The ministry requires local governments to stick to the annual plan to
regulate land use and strictly control farmland transfers and land use for
Land that require people for their livelihood should be guaranteed, and
infrastructure construction projects for rural transport, water conservancy,
compulsory education and medical care should be encouraged.
China has seen a continuous shrinkage in farmland. At the end of 2006, its
arable land declined by 306,000 hectares to 121.8 million hectares from the
year-earlier level of 122 million hectares. The nation has set a bottom line for
arable land security at 120 million hectares.
In the latest move to protect farmland, China's top legislature on Tuesday
began deliberating a draft law on urban and rural planning that will ban "vanity
projects" or unnecessarily ostentatious real estate projects.
The 73-clause draft law said urban and rural development plans should be
drawn up in line with the principles of conserving land resources, environmental
protection, cultural heritage protection, disaster prevention and relief, public
health and public security. A plan should be effective for around 20 years.
"Land resources have been wasted in rural areas as rural planning is quite
inadequate and fails to meet the needs of farmers," said Minister of
Construction Wang Guangtao.
"Some local governments have blindly pursued urban development without
considering local environmental and economic capacity factors and have built too
many 'vanity projects'," said Wang.
The draft law said a rural area development plan should define how land is
allocated for residential purposes, roads, water supply and discharge, rubbish
collection and livestock raising and take into account farmers' point of view.
The draft law said illegal buildings not included in city and countryside
development plans must be torn down and individuals or organizations responsible
will be fined up to 10 percent of the buildings' total value. If they refuse to
tear down the unlawful buildings, the buildings will be