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Land Officials to Be Directly Managed

The Chinese government has decided to put land officials below the provincial level under the direct management of superior land departments in a bid to tighten its control over land resources, according to sources with the Ministry of Land and Resources.

This is an important decision of the central government for improving the land management system, said Sun Wensheng, minister of land and resources, at the National Conference of Land Officials in Beijing Saturday.

At present, local land officials are managed by local governments, which has set up barriers to the smooth implementation of orders from the superior land departments.

The direct management system will ensure the implementation of orders in local regions, and tighten central government's control over land resources, said Sun.

In recent years, many local governments have abused land-use rights on the excuse of economic development, which has seriously affected the security of agriculture and grain production. In 2003,the central government reinforced its efforts to regulate the rules governing the land market, and has put a halt to the trend of abuse of land requisition in economic development zones.

To date, 2,426 out of the 6,015 economic development zones or industrial parks have been abolished, and 294 have been merged with others. Meanwhile, about 168,000 land fraud cases have been dealt with.

Sun said there are still barriers to land protection and proper land use. It is hard to conduct strict supervision over the enforcement of land-related laws and regulations, he noted. Land management is very lax in some areas, and the abuse of land use is still serious, he warned.

He stressed that land resources departments should take the implementation of the policy on arable land protection as a major task, and improve land market management.

Sun urged the departments concerned to improve legislation concerning fixed assets registration and land use and requisition. In addition, he asked local land departments to start investigations into how to amend the present laws on land management and mineral resources.

(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2003)

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