A new resolution to protect arable land and basic cultivatable land in particular, was introduced by the State Council recently. Tightened land management exerts a profound impact on China's sustainable development, and therefore should be implemented as a long-term State policy, says an editorial in People's Daily :
On October 28, Premier Wen Jiabao urged governments and departments at all levels to take a firmer stance on land management. Wen called on local governments to implement land management system reform by the end of the year, stressing that strict land management is conducive to strengthening macro-economic control and achieving sustainable economic and social development.
Land is the basis for any future development, and therefore should be highlighted as a strategic and important resource. Clusters of population sharing small patches of arable land is the basic national condition of China. The demand for arable land resources is further coupled with illegal land occupation; the combined effect was sharp shrinking of the total current amount of basic cultivated land and the degradation of land fertility. To curb this terrible consequence, the Chinese Government is determined to take firmer controls over land management, protecting and better using every inch of land for the good of our present generation as well as later generations.
The present land problem in China is so grave government should be cautious about every move.
Tightened land management is also vital to grain security. To supply food for China's 1.3 billion population is always a problem that tops agendas. The precondition of the total eradication of famine is to protect arable land. More than 600 counties around China are suffering from acute land shortages. If our sense of crisis is still not awakened, food shortages will soon plague the country.
Strict land management is also crucial to promotion of a steady and rapid economic development as it has effectively curbed blind investment and duplicated construction. Local governments should closely abide by land management regulations and excessive land use in industry parks and illegal land occupation should be reined in by imposing severe punishment.
In addition, the abuse of farmland has sparked some social problems. For example, in some areas, farmers are required to give up their farmland, but they get no compensation for the lost land, and therefore, social resentment prevails.
It avails nothing if tightened land management is only available for the time being. Government agencies at all levels should fulfill their obligation of land management in the longer term.
(China Daily November 2, 2004)