Speech by Gan Zangchun, Deputy State Land Inspector-General

September 17, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning! Two months ago, Minister Xu Shaoshi and I briefed you on the progress of implementation of the State Land Inspection System here. And today I'm very glad to meet you again. First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Land and Resources, I'd like to thank the friends from the media for your attention to and support for our work over the past years. Now, I'm going to brief you on the One-Hundred-Day Nationwide Campaign for Land Law Enforcement.

Since the land market rectification in 2003, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have adopted a series of significant measures to incorporate land policies in macroeconomic regulation, and reform the sub-provincial land and resources management mechanism. The issue of two important documents, the Decision of the State Council on Deepening Reform and Tightening up Land Administration (Guofa ? 2004 ? No.28 ), and the Notice of the State Council on Issues concerning Strengthening Land Regulation (Guofa ? 2006 ? No.31), established the state land inspection system. With the implementation of these policies and measures, the situation of China 's land management has been improved, and local governments' awareness to manage and use land according to law has been raised, so has been farmers' awareness of upholding their lawful rights. At the same time, the environment for the enforcement of land laws has been improved considerably, and the scale of new construction land has basically been controlled, so less arable land is occupied for construction purpose now. But recently, violations of land laws and regulations cropped up in some areas, especially in the form of “replacing land requisition with leasing”, the use of collective farmland for non-agricultural construction, and unauthorized expansion of construction land. Some local governments arbitrarily expanded the development zones in violation of the land use masterplan, and enclosed land for industrial purpose on various grounds. Some problems are rather prominent, among others, certain construction projects begin without having obtained approval of land use.

If not properly addressed, these problems will bring serious harm to our economic and social development. First, it will hinder the implementation of the system for strict protection of arable land, and jeopardize China 's food security. Premier Wen Jiabao made a solemn announcement to the world in this year's government work report: “We cannot cross the line and reduce the total amount of farmland in China to less than 1.8 billion mu.” However, at present, there are only 1.827 billion mu of arable land in China, while economic development will inevitably further occupy some of it, and back-up arable land resource is limited, therefore, it is a very demanding task to secure 1.8 billion mu of arable land. One of the prominent features of illegal land use is the unauthorized occupation and use of farmland, or even basic farmland. If such phenomenon goes unchecked, we can never fulfill the task.

Second, it will weaken the achievements in the land market rectification, and hamper the implementation of state land macro-control policies. One of the important macro-control measures now is to make strict checks on land use, the core of which is to effectively regulate the total amount, structure and speed of construction land supply, to curb the overheated growth in fixed asset investment, thus to promote sound and rapid economic development. Unfortunately, land use in violation of laws and regulations makes the total exceed the planned amount. This upsets the structural and distribution balance of land supply, disrupts the proper order of construction land supply, and contributes to the over-increase of the scale of fixed asset investment.

Third, it harms farmers' interests, and affects social stability and harmony. In China , the land is farmers' fundamental means of production, and plays a significant role in social security. The state expropriates land according to law, and adopts the compensation and resettlement system that ensures that farmers' original living standard is not lowered and their long-term livelihood is guaranteed. But some enterprises violate the land law by “replacing land requisition with leasing”. So once the enterprises encounter financial problems or fall bankrupt, these farmers can neither get the rent nor reclaim their land. Consequently they are reduced to straitened circumstances for loss of income. Besides, illegal land use by “replacing land requisition with leasing” leaves farmers' interests unprotected by law, which in turn leads to frequent disputes and possibility of social instability.

Recently, the State Council explicitly required the Ministry of Land and Resources to strengthen land inspection and law enforcement, by strictly monitoring land use, dealing with and exposing a set of tough and representative cases. In order to fulfill the tasks, the Ministry of Land and Resources has decided to launch the One-Hundred-Day Nationwide Campaign for Land Law Enforcement, based on serious analysis and study of the current situation of land management and its salient problems. The focus will be tackling the problem of “replacing land requisition with leasing”. Here we will not elaborate on the general guidelines and work plan of the Campaign, as we provide you with a copy of the Plan for the One-Hundred-Day Nationwide Campaign for Land Law Enforcement, so that we may have more time for the Q & A.

So much for the brief, and now, my colleague and I are ready to take questions.