Learning from HK to resolve land disputes
Guangdong studies arbitration methods to better handle thousands of complaints and compensation claims
Guangdong is learning from Hong Kong how to set up an arbitration organisation to resolve thousands of complaints about land seizures that are bogging down the land resources department, a senior official said.
'We have sent people to Hong Kong to learn from its experience to set up an arbitration organisation for resolving disputes over compensation for land,' said Lin Haokun , director-general of the Guangdong Land Resources Department. 'We have submitted a proposal to the provincial government for its approval.'
A department official said that it had to deal with more than 1,000 petitions for higher compensation for a total of 200,000 mu (13,333 hectares) acquired before 1999 when compensation for land requisition was revised upwards.
'We are negotiating on a case by case basis because land prices differ greatly from region to region. We have to look at where the land is, what it was used for, whether for agriculture or forestry and its present use when negotiating,' he said.
The department received another 2,300 petitions last year, including complaints about seized land, he said.
Mr Lin said the department had to publicise that it would comply with new rules that provided for a minimum compensation of 400,000 yuan per mu for industrial use in developed areas, and 80,000 yuan per mu in other areas.
Guangdong's rates were 23.5 per cent higher than the national compensation rates.
He said that in some cases where villagers had approved of land requisitions, a few were engaging in 'excessive behaviour' and obstructing the work of the department. 'This is illegal,' Mr Lin said.
Development and Reform Commission director Chen Shanru said that land requisitions were most difficult in the Pearl River Delta.
Mr Chen said the Guangzhou-Shenzhen highway, which ran alongside the Pearl River, and the Guangzhou-Zhuhai railway both had to resolve land requisition problems before construction could start.
The Pearl River Delta's 41,500 square kilometres make up only 0.5 per cent of the national land area but its gross domestic product accounts for more than 80 per cent of Guangdong's and about 10 per cent of the nation's, he said.
Disputes over land seizures have cropped up in the province in the past two years but most of the protests were concentrated on Guangzhou's Panyu district and Shunde and Nanhai in Foshan .
To resolve land disputes, the provincial government also would require developers of all non-public interest projects to complete negotiation on compensation before they submit their projects to the authorities for approval.
The new requirements are expected to be implemented in the first half of the year.