BEIJING, Dec. 3 -- China has vowed the strictest land protection to avoid an increase in illegal land uses and grabs as the government's economic stimulus package is expected to boost land demand.
The same amount of land has to be replenished first before existing arable land was allocated for non-farming use, Lu Xinshe, deputy minister of land and resources, told reporters here on Wednesday.
The ministry would intensify supervision on land use, Lu said, and any unlawful land seizure should be adjusted while the people responsible would be punished.
Local government heads would also be held responsible if illegally occupied arable land accounted for 15 percent or more of newly acquired land within a given year, according to Lu.
The 4-trillion-yuan (584 billion U.S. dollars) stimulus package would bring pressure on the country's vow to guarantee a minimum of 120 million hectares of arable land, he said.
The stimulus package, announced early last month, included massive projects to build low-income housing units, improve rural infrastructure, electricity supply and transport networks.
The ministry would try to ensure land supply matched the stimulus package while maintaining effective control and management to guarantee the target of arable land protection, Lu said.
To avoid disputes, farmers whose land is acquired for a development project should get "fair" compensation, while their rights to know and to participate must be guaranteed during the process, he said.
China had 121.7 million ha of arable land last year. It aims to keep its arable land at 121 million ha by 2010 and no less than 120 million ha by 2020.