CHINA / National

Farmers to be better compensated
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-28 07:12

New measures were announced yesterday to stop excessive use of land for construction and industrial projects.

A State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday decided that:

Charges for land use rights and tax on land use be raised to curb increasing encroachment on farmland.

Revenue from transfer of land use rights be part of local government budgets instead of being held by local land departments as is the current practice.

Top local government officials be held responsible for land management and protection of farmland.

Farmers whose land is taken away should be compensated adequately so that they can maintain their quality of life.

The meeting also noted increasing cases of violations of laws and regulations in land acquisition.

Statistics from the Ministry of Land and Resources suggest that one in three construction projects in recent years are on land acquired illegally. From October 2004 to May 2005, the figure jumped to one in two projects.

However, experts said it is not easy to curb the trend.

Lin Yueqin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said many local governments want to acquire more land for projects to boost the economy, long considered an indicator of their career performance.

Also some local officials want to fatten their own pockets by illegally transferring land for non-farming uses, said Lin.

At the meeting, Wen urged the recently established nine land inspection bureaus nationwide to strengthen supervision on land acquisition.

China's arable land has reduced from 130 million hectares in 1996 to 122 million last year and nearly 40 million farmers have lost their farmland; and per capita arable land was 0.093 hectares, a third of the global average.
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