Tens of thousands of farmers have been moved out of their farms into apartments as part of a massive program to build a "New Socialist Countryside."
The idea behind the plan is to free up farmland and consolidate smaller holdings to boost productivity. Officials say this will lay the foundation for more mechanized farming, and phase out the subsistence agriculture still practiced across much of China.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, China is forecast by 2025 to add 400 million people to its cities, accounting for 64% of its total population.
The Hindu cites the Ministry of Land Resources as saying 24 provinces, including Shandong, were allowed to develop 13,333 hectares of land if they freed up farmland.
But for local governments, real estate development is an easy way of boosting revenue – by acquiring land from farmers at a bargain and reselling it at huge profits. Beijing has little means of regulating local-level transactions.