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Youth Move Replaces 8 Chinese Ministers

From a Times Staff Writer

China announced a shake-up of Cabinet-level ministries Tuesday in the latest step of a far-reaching effort to put younger officials in charge of the central government, provincial governments and the army.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, disclosed that it has approved Premier Zhao Ziyang’s appointment of eight new government ministers whose average age is less than 55. Six of the eight ministers they replaced are more than 65, which has now been set as the general retirement age.

The official New China News Agency said the government is attempting “to make cadres more revolutionary, younger in average age, better-educated and more professionally competent.”

None of the most important ministries, such as foreign affairs, defense, justice and public security, were involved in Tuesday’s shake-up, and some of their leaders have so far been exempted from the retirement rules. Both Defense Minister Zhang Aiping and Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian are past the age of 75.

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