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China to Scrutinize All Land Sales Since 2005

The Chinese government has ordered a scrutiny of all the land sales occurred from January 1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2007, to spot and deal with unlawful behaviors in this field and to prevent and curb corruption.

The Ministry of Supervision, Ministry of Land Resources, Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Finance and the National Audit Office jointly issued a circular saying that the massive campaign will be launched soon and completed in six months.

The circular said the scrutiny will mainly focus on if the land which should be sold through public bidding was randomly allocated by local governments, if the land sale pricing was reasonable, if the revenue and expenditure of land transfer is in line with laws and regulations and if legally acquired land was eventually used for purposes other than approved.

The circular requires supervisory bodies at all levels to harshly deal with illegal behaviors, such as violation of land use overall plan and overall city plan and the misdeed of transferring land at low prices, and to vigorously discover the money-for-favor deal behind land transfer cases. All the culprits shall be dealt with according to administrative rules, party regulations and the laws.

Land sale is regarded as one of the areas most prone to corruption in China, where all the lands are owned by the state. Land supply is also a critical part of the government's macro control policies.

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2007)

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