China State Council Increases Payouts for Land Grabs

By Gao Zitan, Epoch Times
November 30, 2012 5:16 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 11:44 am
The Tiananmen Gate is seen under the sunset on June 9, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

In an effort to quell growing public resentment over land seizures, China’s State Council on Nov. 28 passed a draft amendment to increase the payouts by up to 10 times to farmers who have their land taken.

The exact details of all the revisions are not yet clear; the amendment will next go to the Party’s rubberstamp legislature for approval. 

Despite the apparent change, experts in China say the revised rules would still not alter the nature of coercive land grabs, and also point out that even if the compensation is increased, it is unlikely to make it to the hands of those whose houses are seized—officials could easily siphon it off on the way.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, economist Yang Bing from Hebei Province said that the country’s land compensation policy may be revised due to the increasing number of mass protests against land seizures. 

Yang thinks the regime is giving people false hope by offering them more money, but in reality is still taking the land.

“Even if the compensation is increased by 100 times, these are still coercive land seizures! This is not only an issue of land compensation. The owners of collective land and state landowners should have equal rights. When the regime seeks to expropriate collective land, the farmers’ interests should not be harmed. The farmers should have the right to reject the offer, regardless of how much it is. Land acquisition by force should no longer exist,” Yang said.

Even if the farmers were to accept the higher pay-off, corrupt officials would prevent them from getting paid in full, according to Yang. Now, with rampant corruption in China, officials at all levels make huge profits through forced land seizures. In Shenzhen City, many village cadres are millionaires or even billionaires, he said.

“Certainly impossible!” was the response from Shanghai resident Cai Wenjun upon hearing about the potential compensation increase. Cai’s family was relocated due to a building demolition.

Cai said they lost their jobs and land, and never received full compensation. For farmers, a tenfold increase in compensation would be even harder to get from government officials.

Cai wondered how the proposed increase would affect land developers. “If compensation is increased tenfold, how will it be profitable for land developers?”

The news sparked lively online discussion.

Li Zimo, head of real estate research at Jinling Evening News, wrote on Weibo, “Will the compensation for rural collective land be raised tenfold? Can such a large amount of money be put into farmers’ pockets? Will it be a key drive in pushing house prices up?”

Another mused: “If the cost of land acquired by the developers goes up 10 times, house prices double at least.”

Another netizen wrote: “Of course, over the next few years an 8 percent, or even 18 percent GDP growth rate will now be guaranteed.”

Read the original Chinese article.

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