Central Government To Launch National Land Survey, Consolidate Control Over Land Management

March 13, 2005

The Ministry of Land and Resources, in cooperation with numerous other agencies and commissions and at the behest of the State Council, is embarking on the largest national land survey in PRC history, according to a 21st Century Business Herald report. The enormous undertaking, which reportedly will be more expensive and complicated than China’s census, is being launched as part of the central government’s effort to assess land resources and arable land loss, unify China’s land registration and management systems, and consolidate central control over land management to counter local land abuses. According to the article, data from China’s last national land survey, which took place from 1984 to 1986 and cost nearly 1 billion yuan, is either outdated or of limited use with current technology. Chinese experts note that the lack of clear and reliable land data has made it easier for local governments to circumvent central land use rules. They interpret the national survey as part of an effort by the State Council and the Ministry of Land and Resources to assert greater central control over land management (see related story here). Given such goals, the experts predict that some local governments will resist the survey efforts.