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Draft law seeks to ease land disputes

(Global Times)

08:41, November 30, 2012

Scholars applauded a draft amendment to the Land Administration Law passed by the State Council on Wednesday, saying it will substantially increase the compensation for farmland expropriation in China's rural areas, though more work needs to be done to protect villagers' rights.

The draft amendment altered the existing compensation rules for farmers whose collectively owned land is expropriated, according to the State Council.

However, the amendment and regulation, which experts say will benefit farmers amid frequent land disputes in China's rural areas, may not be sufficient or effective.

The State Council said in a statement that "too much rural land has been expropriated too quickly as industrialization and urbanization accelerates. It not only affects stability in the countryside but also threatens grain security." The draft will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for deliberations, according to the statement.

Jiang Mingan, a law professor with Peking University, told the Global Times that the amendment will increase the compensation standard to at least 10 times its current amount.

"Too much farmland has been expropriated by the local government and sold to developers at much higher than the original price when they bought it from farmers," said Jiang, adding that farmers currently get a maximum 60,000 yuan in compensation per mu (667 square meters) of land, which is less than 100 yuan per square meter.

The current land expropriation compensation standard, according to the Land Administration Law, is a package that compensates people for land, attachments or green crops on the land and villagers' resettlement. The package must not exceed 30 times the average output value of the land three years prior to its expropriation, the law says.

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