Urbanization needs more land reform, govt urged

Updated: 2013-07-16 20:27

By ZHENG YANGPENG (chinadaily.com.cn)

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China's new urbanization drive requires further reform of the country's land management system, several members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee proposed at a Tuesday conference.

The conference was held for central government to solicit opinions from the CPPCC National Committee, the country's top political advisory body, about the drafting of the national urbanization outline, which is expected to be rolled out this year.

Liu Fan, vice-chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomingtang, suggested rural farmers' land interests should be protected during the urban expansion.

“Law and regulations should be amended to regulate the collective property rights of rural residents,” he said. China's rural land is collectively owned which, in practice, often leads to abuse of power by rural cadres.

He urged the central government to issues guidelines to ban forcible land transfers. A land trade market, based on the willingness of farmers, should be established to allow rural construction land to be freely traded, Liu argued.

A free construction land-trade regime between rural and urban areas has been called for by many experts who believe this could boost a city's land available for housing, thus reducing house prices and providing potential gains for farmers.

Zhu Ping, deputy director of the economic committee under the CPPCC National Committee, any urban expansion should respect rural residents' usage rights over leased farmland and housing land.

“Our on-site survey showed that many rural residents are reluctant to move into cities because they fear they would lose their rights over leased farmland and housing land and will not share in any dividend from rural collective assets any more,” Zhu said. “So we call for the government to respect their rights whether they have moved into cities or not.”

Zheng Hui, a CPPCC member and governor of the Agricultural Development Bank of China, said a pilot program in some provinces that allows urban planners to have bigger urban construction land quotas if they are able to increase farmland should be expanded.

“During our trip to Anhui province, local leaders said through land redevelopment the pilot zones could add a total of 333,000 hectares of farmland. They said they hope the program could be expanded throughout the province,” he said.