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Officials sacked over land scheme in Guangdong
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Four senior city government officials, including Kaiping City's Party chief, were sacked over illegal land leasing approvals in Guangdong Province, both the Ministry of Supervision and Ministry of Land and Resources said yesterday.

The ministries also exposed another nine land schemes across the country at the news conference, China News Service reported yesterday.

Zhao Ruizhang, former Party Secretary of Kaiping, was removed from his post along with Li Xueming, deputy mayor of Kaiping, and Shi Zhaoping, director of Kaiping's Development and Reform Bureau after the city government illegally approved land deals that amounted to 1,985 hectares from May 2002 to September 2005, the two ministries told a news conference in Beijing.

Li, who was also expelled from the Party, has already been sent to prosecutors for alleged economic crimes, the report said.

Yang Guangzhong, an official with Kaiping's government office and former director of the city's Land and Resources Bureau, was also sacked and received a year of probation in the Party, the report said.

The Kaiping government was accused of illegally leasing farm land belonging to collective organizations as state-owned property and continued the illegal act during a nationwide crackdown on land schemes by the central authority, the report said.

The city government also tried to cover up its actions with fake reports when the two ministries started an investigation, the report said.

The provincial Land and Resources Department said the illegal approvals will be withdrawn. More than 1,500 hectares of land should be returned to these collective organizations, the report said.

Another 326.64 hectares should be returned to farm use since no real estate projects have started on the land, the report cited the department as saying.

(Shanghai Daily December 11, 2007)

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