China Says Farmland Is for Cultivation – Henry Sanderson

More on the increasingly heated debate over land use in China, from AP:

China stressed Thursday that farmland should be used for cultivation, not gobbled up by construction as the country’s rapid development pushes further into the countryside.

In a front-page article in the People’s Daily newspaper, the Communist Party mouthpiece, said the State Council — China’s Cabinet — issued an announcement urging cities to stop using rural land for development.

…Farmers are allowed to use land but cannot own it. As China’s economic boom has spread into rural areas, they frequently have had that right taken away by local officials who want the land for infrastructure and housing projects, frequently with little or no compensation.

Mass protests in China among rural poor have increased as a result, and some experts say the goal of the announcement is to try to reign in the local officials. [Full text]

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