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Ban on Land to Be Enforced

Urban Chinese are banned from buying residential land or houses from farmers, the central government stressed Tuesday to control land use.

In a move to clamp down on the illegal development of farmland and improve land-use efficiency, an executive meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, warned that policies on rural land use will be strictly enforced.

State Councilors urged local governments to strengthen rural land management, improve village and town planning and tighten controls over the construction of farmhouses.

Farmers' homes shall be built primarily on land that is idle or approved for housing and the policy that each rural household is allowed to have only one patch of housing land would be rigidly enforced.

Urban residents are forbidden to buy housing land or homes from farmers, and work units and individuals are prohibited from renting or occupying rural land for real estate development.

At the meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, State Councilors ordered government departments to strictly examine land-use plans and rein in sprawling urban projects.

State Councilors said land could be used more efficiently by targeting unclaimed, discarded or inefficiently-used land first.

China is facing a sharp conflict between land supply and demand, and the area of arable land, which had shrunk by 4.6 million mu (300,000 hectares) from the end of last year to 1.827 billion mu, only slightly above the minimum of 1.8 billion mu set by the government.

The government needed to set up the most stringent land management system, take down-to-earth moves against land waste and promote land saving and better planning, State Councilors said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2007)

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