China will begin identifying parcels of land through a national system designed to curb illegal land use and protect farmers' interests.
The current serial numbers are coded regionally, and this has hindered the supervision of land use on a national level, said Zhu Liuhua, director of the farmland protection department under the Ministry of Land and Resources.
"It will also facilitate establishing an organized land management system, strengthening the management on each segment in land circulation," Zhu said.
A pilot identification project will begin in eight regions, including Tianjin and Shanghai municipalities and cities in Liaoning, Hainan and Sichuan provinces, said Wang Shiyuan, vice-minister of land and resources, at a national seminar.
Wang said it is the first national policy to number all parcels of land, and aims to promote the unified registration of real estate, facilitate land management and protect farmers' rights by allowing real-time inquiry on the land.
"Information including location, price and ownership can be inferred from the identification numbers, just like the function of our (personal) ID numbers, so we can make a basic judgment if the land price is reasonable, whether the land rights have been violated, and so on," Zhu said.
The ministry will complete a report by late August, after receiving reviews from the test runs.
Previously, the land watchdog said land abuse is likely to become more frequent this year since local governments still encourage growth that relies heavily on the use of land for construction projects.
The new policy was announced following a survey, which showed local governments plan to use 1.08 million hectares of land for the construction of roads, rails and similar projects in 2011, greatly exceeding the 448,900 hectares of land that the State Council said can be put to such use.
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