Land battles most dire rural issue in China

Dec 16, 2010

BEIJING – LAND disputes have emerged as rural China’s most volatile social problem, as forced acquisitions have been generating growing social unrest, China’s top think tank said in its annual report on Wednesday.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said in its 2011 Blue Book of China’s Society that 73 per cent of the petitions and complaints farmers filed are related to land.

The report also said the meager compensations and unsatisfactory resettlement conditions common in land transfers are farmers’ two primary points of discontent.

Land skirmishes accounted for 65 per cent of rural mass conflicts, which undermine the country’s social stability and economic development, the report pointed out.

Since the central government has set a ‘red line’ to reserve 120 million hectares of arable land – the minimum necessary to guarantee grain safety – some local authorities have been grabbing land covered with rural houses or plots designated for housing purposes, the report said.

Tens of thousands of farmers, whose families have dwelled in scattered farmhouses for generations, are being relocated to multistory buildings to vacate land local governments sell to developers for profit. — CHINA DAILY/ANN

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