Liaoning, the northeastern Chinese province, is filled with islands, and the state is renting them out.
In July, a statement was issued by the departments of Finance and Natural resources in Liaoning, stating that uninhabited islands are available for rent. Although these islands fall under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government, the government has decided to lease out these islands to the general public. The minimum yearly rent per hectare is 3700 Yuan (US $535) according to an article curated by CNN.
In total, there are 633 islands in the province, and only 44 of them are inhabited resulting in the rest of them being unused. It has been seen in the past few years that marine resources have faced increasing pressure in this region, and Xinhua reports claimed that there has been an inefficient and extensive use of these territories.
The minimum rent for a year is as above, but the higher end is quite expensive with a maximum yearly rent per hectare equating up to 25 million Yuan ($US 3.62 million).
The rental cost has been set after considering various factors, and one of the most important factors is socio-economic development. The Chinese government wants to ensure that the islands are used properly so before granting a lease they need to know how the land will be used and what activities will be undertaken on the land. Fishing, agriculture, tourism, urban development, renewable energy or similar activities are some of the uses they wish to know about. According to the state’s official media channel Global Times, people have shown interest in 2 categories generally, entertainment and tourism.
Categorically, the state has devised nine different divisions for using the land, and the prices are dependant on those categories as well. According to the regulations, the preservation of natural resources has been made mandatory. China was very ambitious in building artificial islands, and therefore the government gathered information on their conquest internationally. The environmentalists on the other hand have viewed it as a disaster for the ecosystem and marine habitats.
Social media platforms created some drama as rumours of owning the island surfaced. These statements however, were completely denied by the officials as they said it is not just a simple “walk in the park” where you just get to sign the contract and do as you wish.