Government and Policy

Rural forced demolition rules being developed

By Bao Daozu (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-24 06:54
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Amendments will address prolific disputes on farmers's collectively owned lands not dealt with in recently implemented regulations

BEIJING - Legislators are busy revising the Land Administration Law to curb forced demolitions on "collectively owned" - meaning rural-land after an updated housing demolition regulation on State-owned property took effect on Friday.

Most of the country's land requisition problems took place on collectively owned property, which was not covered in the recently implemented regulation. These conflicts can only be addressed by adjusting the national land management law, officials from the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said on Saturday.

"Expropriations of State-owned and collectively owned land are separately regulated by two different rules - the regulation relevant to houses and compensation on State-owned land, and the Land Administration Law," unidentified officials with the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development told Xinhua News Agency.

"So, conflicts that occur on the two kinds of land should be resolved in different ways."

The country's 24-year-old Land Administration Law, which was last revised seven years ago, identified two kinds of land ownership - public and collective. Urban land is owned by the State, while suburban and rural lands normally are collectively owned by farmers.

The draft revision of the Land Administration Law dealing with collectively owned land will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, for review "as soon as possible".

The Ministry of Land and Resources has submitted the draft amendment to the State Council to review, the NPC's environmental protection and resources conservation committee said in its report. The move was in response to motions proposed by NPC delegates during last year's conference.

The report said the committee had conducted nationwide investigations and discovered some clauses in the current law no longer effectively address the situations that have emerged during the country's rapid industrialization and urbanization.

The issue of demolitions on collectively owned land was highlighted by the case of Tang Fuzhen, a resident of Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province. The 47-year-old died in 2009 after setting herself on fire to protest the forced demolition of her former husband's garment processing unit.

Tang's death was followed by similar tragedies. Three people set themselves ablaze in a property protest that left one dead last October, when officials were planning to make way for the construction of a bus station in Yihuang county in East China's Jiangxi province.

The new regulations published by the State Council on Friday, which took effect upon their issuance, specifically stated no violence or coercion could be used to force homeowners off their properties. Also forbidden were such measures as illegally cutting residents' water and power supplies.

It further ensured fair compensation for homeowners by requiring compensation equal to at least the market value of similar properties at the time of the expropriation.

Zhao Yinan and Xinhua contributed to this story.

China Daily

(China Daily 01/24/2011 page3)