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UPDATED: February 28, 2011
China to Expand Property Tax Program to Nationwide

China is to accelerate its property tax pilot reform and gradually expand it to national level, the General Office of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, said in an official statement Sunday.

The office, citing a report from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), or the top economic planner, said China's policies to discourage property speculation and curb excessive home price growth in the past year had seen "positive results".

China had kicked off the long-awaited trial property taxation in Shanghai and Chongqing, amid its latest measures to cool off the red-hot housing market.

Besides, the government has also announced a series of policies to discourage speculation and curb excessive price rises, including higher down payments and lending rates, purchase limits and increased housing supplies.

For the next stage, China would continue to enhance the implementation the tightening measures at local level and differential credit policies in the banking system, said the NDRC report.

The Chinese government would increase land supplies, especially for small and medium-sized housing, while cracking down on illegal activities in real estate development, including the hoarding of land and the delaying of sales to earn higher profits, it said.

The government would also work on the establishment of a basic housing security system which ensures the construction and management of affordable housing, and demands a stronger government role in providing homes to low-income families.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday reiterated his determination to tame the country's runaway housing prices in an on-line chat with the public.

"We have to contain the excessive price growth and keep housing prices at a reasonable level," Wen said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2011)

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