Regional governments across China cut the number of development zones by more than 500 in an attempt to reduce rampant overuse of farmland for industrial projects, according to an official Ministry of Land and Resources report. The size of existing approved zones is also being reduced.
The report comes soon after the Minister of Land and Resources was removed from his post. Tian Fangshan, 63, was suspended on suspicion of involvement in shady land deals and is being investigated after the National Audit Office uncovered RMB 7 million of irregular land deals in several regions, including Chongqing.
Mr Tian became party secretary of the Ministry of Land and Resources in 1999 and was confirmed as minister in March 2000.