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Illegal land development zones cut
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-26 00:40

The Ministry of Land and Resources announced Friday -- China's "Land Day" -- that there are 6,741 development zones of various kinds in the country.

The zones are planned to cover an area of 37,500 square kilometres, which is greater than the 31,500-square-kilometre total land area covered by China's cities and townships.

However, more than 4,730 development zones have been found to be in contravention of land laws and regulations.

Withdrawal of illegally-built zones will decrease land area used for development zones by 24,100 square kilometres, or 64.4 per cent of the total planned area.

Sources with the ministry said to date 2,617 square kilometres of areas covered by development zones have already retreated.

Of these areas, 1,324 square kilometres have been returned to farmland.

The use of farmland for industrial development in China has been rampant and millions of Chinese farmers have been victimized during illegal land development projects.

China started to regulate the land market early last year.

Since the beginning of this year, authorities have discovered more than 46,900 illegal land requisitioning cases.

Nearly 14 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion) of land requisition funds that was illegally not paid to farmers has been collected, vice minister of land and resources Li Yuan told China Central Television (CCTV) Friday.

Most of the money has been given back to farmers, he said.

Sources with the ministry said after a year of action, blind move taken by many regions to build development zones has been curbed.

Meanwhile, as a move to clarify the ownership of land areas used by Party and government bodies in Beijing, authorities are to finalize the issue of land use certificates to the Party and government bodies.

Beijing, as the capital of the country, gathers together most of the major bodies of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government.

On Friday, 302 certificates were given to 116 bodies, including the ministries of education and science and technology.

With the newly issued certificates, 2,893 certificates have been granted so far.

An Jiasheng, party secretary of the Beijing land and resources bureau, said registered land areas used by Party and government bodies in Beijing total 7,157.

By the end of the year, all the areas will be issued with certificates.

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