BEIJING: China will conduct a nationwide audit of government land sales and related deals that may shed light on rent-seeking and corruption, the Economic Observer newspaper reported on Saturday. The National Audit Office will conduct “rigorous” checks on funds from land sales, as well land requisition, reserve and supply that occurred from 2008 to 2013, the newspaper said, citing unnamed government sources. The audit, to be launched this week under the cabinet’s oversight, is likely to “disclose the rent-seeking and corruption phenomenon in various areas”, it said. Land sales have been a vital source of income for local governments, as they typically acquire land from farmers at knock-down prices and re-sell the land for property and industrial development, triggering protests by farmers. Local governments are struggling to repay a pile of debts that are officially put at 17.9 trillion yuan ($2.9 trillion).
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2014.
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