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China Boosts Land Compensation for Farmers
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China's Ministry of Land and Resources announced Friday that 230 million yuan (about US$28.75 million) went to compensating farmers for land losses in 2005.

Compensation and allocation to rural farmers were improved last year, with their interests better protected, a ministry statement said.

The Chinese government called in February for improvements to the compensation mechanism for rural farmers whose land was purchased and stricter protection of farmers' interests.

The policy document also demanded better vocational training opportunities for farmers to widen and broaden their prospects, and enrolling them in the social security system.

Illegal land occupancy has increasingly become a grave problem affecting rural and social stability. Premier Wen Jiabao has warned that "historical problems should never be repeated on the land issue".

A ministry statement noted that many provinces, such as Hunan Province in central-south China, had worked out ratification mechanisms for farmland disputes.

Provinces like Jiangsu and Zhejiang in east China had improved the social security system for local peasants with more than 3 million enrolled.

Though China's strategic drive to build a new socialist countryside will increase infrastructure development in rural areas, the central government has sought to restrict land acquisitions.

Officials with the ministry said the reform of the land acquisition system would be accelerated this year, and the government would go on implementing a rigid land protection system.
(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2006)

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