China will invoke its tightest management yet on arable land in an effort to end misuse and blind investment, according to a decision issued by the State Council.
The decision was ratified at a Wednesday meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. It calls for in-depth reform of the land management system.
According to the decision, permits for development zones established contrary to government regulations will be revoked, and government departments at all levels as well as the officials working in them who violate land-use laws will be strictly penalized.
"China will spare no effort to protect existing arable land from shrinking while working to improve the efficiency of land use in industrial and commercial projects," the decision says. "Farmland misappropriated for other purposes will be restored."
The government will accelerate land management reform, including improving the application of laws and regulations as well as stepping up supervision. A minimum price norm for land trading will be issued.
More substantial efforts will be made to protect farmers' rights to land use and to guarantee that farmers who lose their land are appropriately compensated. The government will also speed the payment of such compensation.
The effective protection of arable land will be a measure of the performance of local governments and officials, according to the decision.
(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2004)