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China's urbanization leaves rural land unattended: report

(Xinhua)

08:55, March 27, 2012

BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) -- A report on rural development from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has urged the country to make full use of unattended rural land and infrastructure abandoned by Chinese moving to cities for work.

"The unattended land and infrastructures are becoming a major obstacle for the coordinated development of urban and rural areas," said the report released Monday by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research under the CAS.

The conclusion was based on a survey that covered more than 6,500 rural families and 46,000 plots of land for individual or family house construction.

"Investigations show that a huge amount of rural land that was originally for house building now lies idle, and the use of many areas for farming, forests and dams is highly inefficient," said the report.

According to the report, an estimated 114 million mu (7.6 million hectares) of land can be released for reuse if the country improves its rural construction land management and rearranges unattended areas for farming and forestry.

The report urged the government to incorporate the management of "empty villages" and the optimized distribution of rural land into its general strategy to protect plowland and improve people's livelihoods.

China's urban population exceeded its rural population for the first time at the end of 2011, accounting for 51.27 percent of the country's population of nearly 1.35 billion people, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show.

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