Ministry of Land and Resources Reports that Reform of Land Management Bureaus to Be Completed By Year End, State Council Express Further Concern About Land Abuses

November 1, 2004

According to an October 20 report in the Legal Daily, Minister of Land and Resources Sun Wensheng stated this week that structural reform of China’s system of land management bureaus will be complete by the end of the year. Last December, the MLR announced that local land officials would no longer report to local governments but would instead be placed under the direct control of provincial-level land management bureaus. The move was designed to combat corruption in local land transactions. Sun noted that implementation of the new system had been “slow” in some areas.

In a sign of continued leadership concern over land abuses and the unrest they have caused, Xinhua reported that Premier Wen Jiabao chaired another meeting of the State Council on the issue of land management on October 13. According to the report, the State Council issued a new circular calling for strict land management, effective protection of arable land, and effective protection for the rights and interests of peasants who lose their land to development. The circular, one of many on the subject that have been released over the past two years, does not appear to contain any concrete new policies to combat land abuses and for the most part repeats earlier pronouncements and decisions.