China will continue to tighten its control over land use with local governments being urged to make sure they do not build on any more land next year than they did this year.
The Ministry of Land and Resources laid down in a recent circular that local governments must not approve more land for construction in 2007 than they did in 2006.
"The principle is to strengthen macro-economic control and use land resources economically," it said, adding that localities must make use of land "scientifically and rationally" to protect farm land and land for other agricultural purposes.
When it comes to compiling land use plans, local governments must make sure "the strictest land control polices are fully implemented", said the document.
It urged localities to "act conjointly" with the State Council in implementing macro-economic control policies and prevent fixed-asset investment from overheating.
China's fixed asset investment rose to 7.19 trillion yuan in the first nine months, up 27.3 percent year-on-year.
The growth rate was down 2.5 percentage points on the first half but is still 1.2 percentage points higher than the same period of last year.
To further consolidate macro-economic control, sources with the Ministry's Planning Department warned local governments that rushing through land use approvals in the final three months of the year was strictly forbidden.
China's central government has tightened control over land after the economy reported growth of 10.9 percent in the first half and promised to penalize local officials who fail to stop or investigate land use transgressions.
In September, two senior local leaders Li Xinming and Wang Wenchao, of central China's Henan Province, were disciplined for illegally authorizing the occupation and use of land.
A survey targeting 16 cities by the Ministry showed that nearly 50 percent of new land under development was acquired illegally last year.
(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2006)