Illegal land use in cross hairs of new nationwide scheme

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-02-02 08:50

Operating independently of provincial land and resources authorities, the regional inspection bureaus are mostly concerned with the protection of land and ensuring local policies and measures conform with national laws and regulations.

They can also press provincial authorities to rectify any wrongdoings.

If any cases of illegal land use are uncovered, the inspectors must immediately inform the local government concerned, and if the problems are not rectified, they must then report to the central authorities.

Dong said despite progress being made to curb illegal land use, unauthorized acquisitions still occur because "the demand for land amid industrialization is in sharp contrast to the scarcity of resources".

He said until there is a change of mindset among local leaders, many of whom view land as an exploitable resource to fuel economic growth, illegal acquisitions will continue.

A scientific model for development is needed and the taxation system, as it applies to land, should be amended, he said.

MLR figures show that since 1996, China's arable land bank has dwindled from 1.95 billion mu (130 million hectares) to 1.83 billion mu. The per capita figure is just 1.41 mu, or about a third of the global average.

"We must remain high-handed in supervising and curbing land violations by local governments to safeguard the bottom line of arable land," Gan said.

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