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China Rules Out Possibility of Land Privatization
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The Chinese government has ruled out the possibility of land privatization, Chen Xiwen, director of the office of the central leading group on rural work, said on Tuesday.

Chen said land ownership was determined by China's constitution, rather than central government policy.

He said the government would continue land-utilization reform to control illegal sales of farm land and protect farmers' interests.

China is facing thorny problems in handling the issue of rural land rights. Without secure land rights, farmers are increasingly evicted from their lands to make way for roads, factories and residential areas.

Premier Wen Jiabao warned early last year that illegal seizures of land without compensation and resettlement were a key source of instability in rural areas.

"It is sparking mass incidents in the countryside," said Wen. "We absolutely cannot commit a historic error regarding land problems."

The government issued a notice last year on strengthening land control, through which the government tightened controls over transforming farm lands to urban construction uses.

The threshold for transforming farm land into construction use was raised, and the illegal renting of farm land for non-farming uses like urban construction was banned.

(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2007)

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