Many dream of Liaoning's cheap islands, but complex process awaits

By Wan Lin Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/23 19:55:07

In this aerial photo, people compete during dragon boat racing held in the mud of paddy field in Shenbei New Area of Shenyang City, northeast China's Liaoning Province, June 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Long Lei)

An annual fee as low as 3,700 yuan ($528) per hectare for uninhabited islands in Northeast China's Liaoning Province has got some people dreaming, but natural resources insiders said that's just a starting price, and the strict application procedure will turn many dreamers away. 

Liaoning is home to the largest number of islands in northern China, with a total of 589 uninhabited and 98 having been developed and utilized. 

"The ecology of some sea areas and islands has changed, so it is necessary to properly and scientifically put these resources to use soon. Selling these state-owned resources to individuals is a good way to realize their sustainable usage," an official from the Liaoning Provincial Department of Natural Resources, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

However, it is not easy to just buy an uninhabited island as applicants have to complete a long, strict process, including submitting project demonstration reports for each island and specific plans for follow-up development and utilization, said the official. 

According to the price list published by the Liaoning Provincial Department of Natural Resources, the price of an island is determined based on how much of it will be developed and for what purpose. 

There are nine categories of usage, including tourism and entertainment, transportation, national defense, fishing and agriculture. 

Generally speaking, tourism and entertainment are the most common purposes for the purchased islands, said Yu Xingguang, a member of the Third Institute of Oceanography of Ministry of Natural Resources, on Sunday. 

For the development of tourism and entertainment, the prices can range from 3,700 yuan to 9.27 million yuan per hectare per year, depending on how much of an island is used. 

Different sea areas where islands are located also affect the prices. In Shahekou and Xigang districts of Dalian,  which is adjacent to the Yellow Sea, the cost can be as high as 19.76 million yuan per hectare if it is used to the utmost degree - land reclamation. 

"The values of islands are carefully calculated after field research, and ecological factors, such as rare species, fresh water, beaches and other resources also have to be taken into account in the overall plan," said Yu. 

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