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Farmland Reduction in China Apparently Slows down in 2007 and Strict Control on Construction Land Increase Continues in 2008
The Bulletin of China Land and Resources 2007 which was lately released by the Ministry of Land and Resources indicates that the farmland reduction in China apparently slowed down in 2007.

With the strict implementation of related planning and the effective fulfillment of various measures of farmland protection, the farmland area of China was retained at 121.7 million ha (1.83 billion mu) by the end of 2007. The net reduction was 40,700 ha at the rate of 0.03%, decreasing by 0.22% compared to that of the previous year. Among which, 188,300 ha was caused by construction occupation, reducing by 27.2% compared to the figure of the previous year; 25,400 ha by reclaiming forestry and grassland for ecological restoration, reducing by 92.5%; 17,900 ha by disaster destruction, reducing by 50.0%; and 4,900 ha by agricultural restructuring, reducing by 87.9%. In the meantime, there was 195,800 ha farmland regained through land consolidation and reclamation, exceeding the volume of the farmland occupied by construction by 4.0%.

In 2007, through strengthening the examination and approval of new construction land, about 13.4 thousand ha irrational construction land-use was checked out and reduced, among which 4437.0 ha was farmland. With priorities to the national key projects and the construction projects concerning people’s welfare like regular housing, the land supplying has powerfully supported the socio-economic development, with the land approved for transportation and residence being increased by 30.7% and 13.0% respectively. In the same year, about 115.3 thousand ha land was transferred through bidding and auction which occupied 50.9% of the total area of land transfer with the increase of 20.4% compared to the figure of the previous year.

In 2008, China will continue the strict control on the increase of construction land. In line with the macro control requirements of “preventing the economic development from comparatively rapid growth to over-heated growth and preventing the rise of commodity price from structural increase to apparent inflation”, the department of land and resources will seriously implement the policies and measures of macro control on land following the principles of restricting the gross, controlling the increase, vitalizing the reserve and promoting the economization and intensification. Inspections will be carried out to check the fulfillment of the provincial governments’ responsibilities for farmland protection, the role of land-use planning on controlling the gross, structure, layout and order of agricultural land transfer be fully played to strictly control the scale of land expropriation, and the administration and supervision on land utilization after approval be strengthened to assure the legal expropriation and utilization of farmers’ land. Meanwhile, the policies and measures of land expropriation administration will be further completed and improved, with the Notice on Implementing Unified Annual Production Output Standards and Publicizing Local General Land Price for Land Expropriation being released to put into practice the unified annual production output standards and the local general land price for land expropriation, in hope of maintaining the unified, balanced and transparent land price at a locality and preventing the activities of changing or dropping the compensation standards for land expropriation without authorization. Moreover, the regulations on land expropriation procedure should be formulated, improved and strictly implemented, the resolution and verdict mechanism for land expropriation dispute be set up, and the social guarantee of farmers whose land is expropriated be assured in cooperation with different departments.

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