China adopted the newly amended Land Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China on August 26, 2019 at the 12th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. The new law shall take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
In the amendment, China followed three principles: maintaining public ownership of land, safeguarding farmers’ interests and upholding the strictest possible system for farmland protection and the most stringent system for economical and intensive land use. New rules on rural land requisition and expropriation, marketization of rural collective construction land and homestead management are set down in the amended law. The amendment will be of great significance to rural revitalization and integrated urban-rural development.
Summarizing and purifying the measures on rural land reform, including successful experience on pilot projects, China has incorporated those successful measures and practices into the new Land Administration Law. The highlights of the new law are as below:
Firstly, China has identified the competent department for agriculture and rural affairs responsible for house sites management and reform. Maintaining the principle that one household shall only have one house site, the new law dictates provisions governing delegation of approval for house sites, transfer of house site on a voluntary basis and with compensation for villagers who gained permanent citizenship.
Secondly, collectively-owned rural construction land is allowed to be invested directly on market under the new law.
Thirdly, the new law dictates detailed formalities for rural land requisition and expropriation, including investigation, information openness, negotiation, possible hearings, contract signing, and application for land requisition. Regarding compensation for land requisition, a combination of factors is taken into account to better safeguard farmer’s rights and interests.
Fourthly, the protection for permanent basic farmland is intensified under the new law. The term of “basic farmland” used in the previous version is amended into the term of “permanent basic farmland”. A national database on permanent basic farmland shall be set up to promote effective management.
Fifthly, the new law clearly defines various types of land by purpose of land use, specifying requirements for meeting agricultural development and rural infrastructure.