More compensation is likely to be paid to farmers forced to turn over property Experts have called for greater restriction on land requisition by local governments to protect farmers' interests, Xinhua reported yesterday. 'We can say for sure that restrictions will be imposed on the scope of land requisition to a great extent,' said Zhang Xiaoling, a member of the group drafting an official document on land requisition reform. He is a deputy chief engineer of the Chinese Land Surveying and Planning Institute. 'Also, higher compensation will be paid to farmers whose land has been used for public projects, and insurance is under consideration to guarantee their livelihood,' Professor Zhang said. He was quoted by the Shanghai-based Oriental Outlook, a new weekly publication affiliated with Xinhua. The news agency also quoted Yan Jinming, member of a group of experts involved in the drafting of legislation on land management, as saying there would be detailed provisions to regulate the change of use of land. 'Yan ... said the group is working on provisions on land planning, which will contain detailed rules on the approval, permission and revision of plans concerning the use of land,' Xinhua said. 'For a long time, the final say on the trading of land-use rights has been in the hand of local governments, and this time the central government is considering taking over the power, according to insiders.' The law change, which had been expected for months, will place a special focus on how to compensate the original users of land when they have to turn over their property, the agency quoted Huang Xiaohu, secretary-general of the China Society of Land Science, as saying. 'The revision of the country's law on land management, expected to start soon, will give priority to how to reasonably use land resources and guarantee the benefits of those whose land becomes the target of requisition,' Mr Huang said. The report linked the revision of the central government's land policies and relevant legislation to the widespread problem of the requisition of land by local governments and complaints by farmers. 'Local governments, who monopolise the sale of land-use rights, are making huge profits by buying land from farmers at low prices, and selling it to developers at higher prices. Such profits have become a secondary source of revenue in some localities, resulting in rampant corruption,' Xinhua said. Chang Jiaxing, deputy director of the Law Enforcement and Supervision Bureau under the Ministry of Land and Resources, was quoted as saying the problem was serious. 'Chang revealed that more than 100,000 illegal cases related to land were reported in the first half of this year. Some 39,133 hectares of land is involved, including 19,400 hectares of farmland,' Xinhua said.