The Chinese government has called an indefinite suspension of applications to establish or extend land development zones, and warned those responsible for illegal developments will be severely punished.
The move was announced at a national teleconference organized by the State Council Thursday on regulations of the land market, land use in development zones and land management.
Premier Wen Jiabao sent a message to the meeting, calling for the adoption of the strictest possible land management system, by perfecting land management law, a crackdown on illegal land use approvals, increased supervision of development zones, and greater macro-control of land use.
Wen emphasized that land was fundamental to people's livelihoods and stressed the state policy to protect land.
Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan told the meeting that local governments should strictly enforce laws on land management and urgently tackle illegal activities concerning land use in development zones.
Zeng said the government's ability to control the land market had constantly improved since the launch of the nation's reform and opening-up, especially in the last five years.
Although the government had increased regulation of the land market, many illegal practices continued concerning development zones, land occupation, preferential policies on land use, and malfeasant use of land management powers to occupy farmland, said Zeng.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2003)