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China Health Ministry Party chief replaced

THE Communist Party chief of China's Health Ministry has been replaced, the ministry's official website said yesterday.

The post of secretary of the ministry's leading Party members' group, formerly held by Gao Qiang, 65, was taken over by Zhang Mao,55.

The website didn't give a reason for the change, only saying that the central government made the decision out of "work necessity and prudent study."

Zhang, from east China's Shandong Province, had been vice mayor of Beijing and vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission previously, during which time he was in charge of health system reform work, the website said.

Gao had been vice finance minister and deputy secretary-general of the State Council (Cabinet). He was appointed Party chief and vice minister of the Health Ministry during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2003 after former health minister Zhang Wenkang was sacked over the crisis. Gao became minister in April 2005.

In June 2007, Gao's post of health minister was taken by Chen Zhu, who is not a member of the Communist Party of China. He then began to act as the vice minister and remained the Party chief.


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