Land Use Supervision: General Situation Good, no Cause for Optimism

China has recorded 9,832 cases of illegal land use in this year’s first quarter, up 3.7 percent from the same period last year, reports China Radio International (CRI), quoting the ministry of land and resources (国土资源部).

China Daily quoted the ministry’s law enforcement and supervision department (执法监察局) director Li Jianqin (李建勤) as saying several days earlier (probably on Thursday or Friday) as saying that 73 officials from 31 cities and counties had been punished for various infractions connected to the illegal use of land. Referring to a list published last Thursday, Li had said that [I]n all these cities and counties, 15 percent of new land development was illegal, according to 2009 satellite images and the management of the market for land transfers has been disorderly.

The following is a rough translation of an article by People’s Daily, of July 12.

On a press conference on Monday morning, 10 a.m., Li Jianqin said that while the general  situation tended to be good, increasing contradictions (矛盾) between supply and demand had led to pressures of illegal behavior (违法违规反弹的压力很大). Local governments managed the use of land, awareness in the management of mining had been strengthened, the authorities were making active use of satellite image in their supervision work, and the degree to which law enforcement, prevention and rectification were conducted had increased.

One factor was the momentum of illegal activity due to the lack of development of areas lacking develoment, compared to eastern and central Chinese areas. Secondly,  when local government drummed up investment, illegal land use by enterprises featured more prominently. Thirdly, illegal land use was constantly a problem around infrastructure projects such as road, railway, airport, and water conservancy projects. Illegal “land leasing in lieu of acquisition”*) (以租代征) of collectively-used rural land, high expectations of further increases in the value of land because of continuing urbanization (城乡一体化), and the resulting belief that “cultivation isn’t as good as construction” (种地不如种房), many places were showing a trend of “de-agriculturalization” (非农化). Land was illegally occupied by estate development, illegal building of golf courses, “small property rights” (小产权房), industrial parks, etc.. The fifth factor was that illegal mineral mining was usually done on a small scale, and in a scattered way (违法开采矿产资源呈现散而小的特征).

Given the pace of development and the combined efforts for industrialization, urbanization, agricultural modernization in accordance with the 12th five-year plan (十二五, starting this year), with the corresponding fast rise in demand for resources and the constraints on their supply, the state of affairs concerning illegal land use gave no cause for optimism (国土资源领域违法违规形势不容乐观).



*) Also known as land renting for land acquisition. A notice of the state council on promoting the land saving and intensive use, officially effective since March 1, 2008, states that it is strictly prohibited to illegally change agricultural land into construction land, or do so through “land renting for land acquisition”.

高度重视农村集体建设用地的规划管理。要按照统筹城乡发展、节约集约用地的原则,指导、督促编制好乡(镇)土地利用总体规划和镇规划、乡规划、村庄规划,划定村镇发展和撤并复垦范围。利用农民集体所有土地进行非农建设, 必须符合规划,纳入年度计划,并依法审批。严格禁止擅自将农用地转为建设用地,严格禁止‘以租代征’将农用地转为非农业用地。


» Land Certificates: Urbanize, and Stay where You are, July 10, 2011
» Tossing the Mountain around, November 8, 2010
» “Golf Courses out of Bounds”, China Daily, March 5, 2007



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