MLR reveals new land use violation data

09:03, May 05, 2010      

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The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) Tuesday revealed the latest cases of land use violation in China, showing the trend has slowed, but experts said the lack of strict enforcement of existing laws is still the core problem.

In the first quarter, there were 7,661 cases of land use violations, such as realty development and golf course development, covering 31,000 mu of land (2,066 hectares), down 13.99 percent and up 1.01 percent year-on-year, respectively. A total of 10,600 mu (706 hectares) of farming land are involved in the violations, down 24.62 percent compared with the previous year, the MLR announced.

"The land resources violations are still pressing," said Li Jianqin, director of law enforcement with the MLR.
He added that from the second quarter of this year, most regions of China will enter into a construction period. Dozens of approved regional development plans have entered the construction phase, which could cause more land use violations, he said.

The Legal Mirror Tuesday reported a golf course in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, was fined 14.67 million yuan ($2.15 million) due to land violations.

"It is rare to see officials lose their black gauze cap due to land violations," Li Jingguo, a researcher at the Research Center for Urban Development and Environment under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday. Losing a black gauze cap is a Chinese saying that refers to an official being sacked.

"When a violation happens, can the person responsible, such as the mayor, be removed from his or her position?" asked Li.

According to the figures provided by the MLR, among the 7,661 violations, 51 people were punished with administrative penalties and 71 people in charge were punished according to Party discipline, while 44 faced criminal penalties.

"The key to the land issue is that the there are few who enforce laws seriously," said Liu Weixin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, adding that actual land violations are far more than the disclosed figures.

In some cities, local governments have rented farming land from peasants for con-struction projects, a violation of regulations, but local supervisory departments can hardly punish violators due to consideration for their own interests, Liu said.

In December 2009, Premier Wen Jiabao said land supervision should be bold enough to tackle any situation no matter who is involved.

The MLR said at the press conference Tuesday it would enhance supervision, conduct checks seriously and not approve redundant and unnecessary construction projects.

Source: Global Times


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