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China cracking down on illegal land transfers

[JURIST] China has increased its efforts to stop illegal land transfers and punish government officials responsible for illegal land title transfers, an official from the Law Enforcement and Supervision Bureau under the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources [official website] said Monday. While property in China [JURIST news archive] is essentially state-owned, land use titles convey their holders a form of ownership and corrupt local officials have illegally confiscated property from individuals and families and transferred the titles to property developers. Zhang Xinbao, director of the Law Enforcement and Supervision Bureau, noted that although in the past these illegal land seizures were rarely prosecuted, the increased crackdown on corrupt officials has led to 3,000 officials punished for such actions in the last year. Zhang said that in the last six years, 8,698 officials have been penalized by the Communist Party over illegal land title transfers, while 1,221 others have been punished by the legal system. China has also increased the legal rights of property owners who often receive little to no compensation for the confiscation of their land. AP has more. Xinhua has local coverage.

China has recently been engaged in a crackdown on corruption [JURIST news archive], and in some cases has used capital punishment in corruption cases. In July, the former commissioner of China's State Food and Drug Administration [official website, in Chinese] was executed for accepting $850,000 in bribes [JURIST report]. In August, Chinese Communist Party discipline commission spokesman Gan Yisheng said that China's use of capital punishment in political and economic corruption cases is appropriate and effective [JURIST report]. Gan justified the punishment by saying that it has "been endorsed by the Chinese people and also recognized by the international community." Last week, a Chinese bank official convicted of corruption was executed [JURIST report] for taking bribes and embezzling the equivalent of almost $2 million USD.

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