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Illegal Land Use Monitored from Above
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Beijing will use three satellites to monitor land use in a crackdown on illegal real estate development activities, a local land official has said.

Starting next month, Beijing will investigate and prosecute major cases of illegal land use, focusing on those violating government plans, national industrial policies and those impairing farmers' legitimate rights, Beijing News reported on Saturday, quoting An Jiasheng, director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Land and Resources.

Authorities can now avail themselves of satellite remote sensing technologies to uncover and prevent illegal land use, An told a conference on Friday.

Land use regulations in Beijing have been ignored by unscrupulous profiteers, Beijing News added, quoting the municipal government.

The central government clamped down on land control after a 10.9 percent economic growth in the first half.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said that local governments must not in future exceed this year's land construction approval levels.

"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 farmland and land for other agricultural purposes.

It urged localities to coordinate with the State Council to implement macro-economic control policies and prevent runaway fixed-asset investment. China's fixed asset investment rose to 7.19 trillion yuan (US$899 billion) in the first nine months of 2006, up 27.3 percent year-on-year.

To further consolidate macro-economic control, sources with the Ministry's Planning Department warned local governments against fast-tracking land use approvals by year-end. In September, senior leaders in central China's Henan Province were disciplined for illegally authorizing the occupation and use of land.

(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2006) 

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