Nine local officials in China punished for illegal land enclosure

08:31, May 25, 2011      

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Nine government officials in Xianghe County of north China's Hebei Province have been punished or sacked for illegal enclosure of farmland, local authorities said Tuesday.

A preliminary investigation has uncovered that illegal transfer of farmland and illegal land requisitions have happened in the county, and these practices have encroached on farmers' interests, according to a statement the provincial government office sent Xinhua.

The county head Zhang Guijin received a serious demerit in his performance record as an administrative penalty, and will face removal from his position after legislative approval.

The county's deputy head Yan Zaixing also received a serious demerit, while local land and resources bureau chief Zhou Chunhua was sacked.

Six other officials also received administrative penalties or were dismissed.

However, the statement did not elaborate on the case nor mention how many hectares of farmland were involved.

According to previous media reports, the case involves more than 4,000 mu (about 266.7 hectares) of farmland.

The case, first exposed by media, has been a hot topic on the Internet after three reporters investing the case were stalked by "unidentified people" while local police in Xianghe County refused to protect them on May 15.

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