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Excessive Land Use Curbed

Regional governments across China have cut the number of development zones by more than 500 and size of the zones to protect shrinking farmland resources, according to an official report.

The edition of China Land And Resources News, published by the Ministry of Land and Resources, reported at weekend that 30 of the 31 regional governments around the country had stopped approving new development zone projects and applications to expand existing zones.

The move came after the ministry issued two circulars on industrial development zones earlier this year and substantial efforts made by five central government departments to curb the excessive, wasteful use of farmland.

Anhui Province has suspended its review of the applications of 17 development zone projects involving 387.2 square kilometers, and Yunnan Province, southwest China, also froze land-use applications for 15 development zones, according to the report.

Jiangxi Province dismissed applications for development zones with no promised industrial projects on over 4,000 hectares.

Many regions are downsizing the areas planned for industrial development, and the number of planned development zones.

Chongqing Municipality, in southwest China, has cut the area planned for development zones from nearly 600 to 200 square kilometers.

It has withdrawn approval for 59 development zones and decided to take more off its development zone list before the end of this year, said the report.

Hainan Province, China's southernmost island province, has cut the area planned for development zones by 1,100 sq km, and the number of development zones from 92 to 25, about 72.8 percent of the total. It has also decided to reduce the number by an additional 15.

East China's Shandong Province, one of the country's major economic players, has decided to cut the number of development zones by 444.

Some regions have withdrawn authority delegated illegally to local governments.

Most of regional governments, including the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan, Anhui, Henan, and the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, moved to improve their leadership in regulating land market order.

(Xinhua News Agency November 3, 2003)

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