Authorities have uncovered and probed 39,900 cases of illegal land use in the first eight months of the year, statistics from the Ministry of Land and Resources showed Tuesday.
Illegal exploration of mining resources and misappropriation of farming land and other offences involved 20,486 hectares of land, 32 percent of which was arable land. Land misuse is common in China as some governments are still trying to expand blindly in construction and development, ignoring government rules.
The ministry said it will try to prevent farm land from being used for non-farming purposes under the guise of "land transfers". China has allowed farmers greater property rights, including the freedom to possess, use, benefit from and transfer their contracted land, but problems such as land being used for non-farming purposes after transfer have emerged, running against government wishes for better farmland protection.
China's arable land stood at 2 billion mu (about 135.1 million hectares) at the end of 2012, 227 million mu above the "bottom line" set by the government to ensure food security.