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Hu calls for plan to improve land use

(China Daily)

15:42, August 25, 2011

BEIJING - President Hu Jintao said on Tuesday that China should implement a land-saving strategy, continue to adopt strict regulations to protect arable land and improve land use.

Hu said China, a developing country with a limited amount of available arable land, faces many new problems with land management, and he called for less reliance on land resources to create economic growth and for protecting the interests of farmers after land requisition.

"When we are satisfying the current needs of development, we should also take the future needs into consideration," Hu said at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. "This reflects China's scientific outlook on development and is a strategic measure to ensure food security."

He also said land authorities needed to cooperate to improve land management in China.

In addition to the previous 84 cities that have been required to report to the State Council for approval of construction land, the State Council will now approve rights in 22 other cities.

Programs involving farmland changed into other uses and requisition of land in downtown areas should first get approval from the State Council, instead of the provincial governments.

"The ministry added these 22 cities into the system because these cities have already satisfied the standards of population and economy, and should be included." Liu Shouying, a researcher at the Development Research Center under the State Council, told China Daily on Wednesday.

According to the Land Management Law, capital cities, cities with a population of more than 1 million or cities designated by the State Council should get approval from the State Council for their land use plan.

Yan Jinming, professor of land management at Renmin University of China, agreed with Liu and denied any connection between this move and tightening land use.

"It's not a signal for tightening land use. This is the third round of examination of cities," Yan said. "More and more cities will be included in this system after they satisfy the standards."

He also said urban construction plans should get approval from the state through a series of strict procedures, reducing illegal use of land in urban areas.

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