Mao's hated landlords allowed to return to China

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They were one of the first groups to suffer under Mao's ruthless purges.

Millions of the 'hated landlord class' were denounced, killed or driven to suicide in the push which paved the way for each peasant to have his own slice of land.

But 60 years on, the Communist Party is preparing to renounce the country's final trace of collectivism.

Each of China's 800 million farmers will be given the right to sell their land to a landlord in a move designed to transform the countryside from a patchwork of tiny, hardscrabble plots into large, efficient farms.

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