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Preserving of Nation's Farmland to Be Pushed
New land-use plans will be examined meticulously to ensure that the country's cultivated land will be held at no less than 106.7 million hectares, said Pan Wencan, director of the Land Planning Department of the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Pan disclosed in an exclusive interview with China Daily Monday that the expansion of various development zones, university cities, science parks, and vocation villages is unlikely.

Industries will be encouraged to move into designated industrial parks, and more farmers will be encouraged to settle in satellite cities or towns in rural areas.

"But the construction of new satellite cities or towns will not be pushed," said Pan, "because there is still plenty of room for more population and further development in the existing ones."

Pan also emphasized that such activities as digging fishing ponds and setting up farms for raising livestock and processing facilities for agricultural products at the expense of crop land will also be strictly limited.

Although China expects new construction to surge now that the country is a member of the World Trade Organization, Pan said the ministry is set on maintaining the existing area of farm land "despite all difficulties."

All construction projects should be limited to land utilization programs approved by the State Council.

The ministry has for the first time established a complete system of land utilization programs not just for the country as a whole but also for various administrative regions from the provincial level down to the county level.

Although a new regulation on the implementation of such programs is still being drafted, the ministry is ready to punish whoever dares to challenge these programs, said Pan.

(China Daily August 6, 2002)

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