Mon Nov 25, 2013 07:04 AM CST

BEIJING (Dow Jones) -- A reform to give China's farmers clearer rights to their land portends big changes, giving them a new way to raise money and boosting the economy far beyond the farm.

Under a policy blueprint the Communist Party approved last week, farmers will be allowed to sell or mortgage their homes and the land beneath them and pass on land-use rights to their children. They would also be given shares of lands collectively belonging to the village, which could also sell land currently used for schools, factories or other purposes than farming.

Though controls on land under ...

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