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Rule of law can help end land disputes

By Dang Guoying | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-23 07:57

The rule of law figures high on the agenda of the ongoing Fourth Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. That the strengthening of the rule of law is of utmost importance was once again proved by a conflict over land requisition in Jinning, Yunnan province, last week. The clash between about 1,000 armed constructors and villagers in Jinning that left eight people dead and 18 injured was one of the hundreds that take place in the country every year.

Local governments, in general, pay reasonable price to requisition land for development. The accepted international pricing mechanism for acquiring agricultural land for commercial use is between 30 and 150 times the annual rent. If a farmer wants anything more than that, property developers could change their mind.

Since the annual rent for 1 mu (666.7 square meters) of agricultural land is about 500 yuan, the fair price should be between 15,000 yuan ($2,451) and 75,000 yuan, whereas local governments often pay 30,000 to 50,000 yuan for 1 mu. But despite this, local governments have a bad reputation. Just Google "land requisition" and you will know how much fury farmers have against local governments and how many bloody conflicts take place every year.

Rule of law can help end land disputes

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