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Scholar: Low Compensation for Land Acquisition a Cause for Social Conflict

An article in Beijing Times reported on a scholar who criticized the low and inadequate compensation for land acquisition. The scholar said it was a major problem with China’s current massive land seizures. The compensation that local governments give when they grab land from farmers is very low. Then they sell it to developers at a price ten or dozens of times higher, leading to acute social conflicts.

Zheng Fengtian, a professor at Renmin University of China said that the major problem with China’s rural land acquisition is that the standard for compensation is too low. A survey conducted by the Development Research Center of the State Council found that 40 to 50 percent of the value-added part of land acquisition goes to investors, 20 to 30 percent goes to the local government, 25 to 30 percent goes to the village organizations (grassroots government body), and the farmer who sold the land receives only 5 to 15 percent of the entire pie.

Zheng added that the huge amount of revenue that local governments receive gives them a fervent appetite for grabbing land and reselling it, resulting in massive and rapid use of arable land for non-agricultural occupation. Since 1990, China has been suffering an average loss of 10 million mu (1 mu equals to 667 square meters) of arable land per annum.

Source: Jinghua Times, November 29, 2012