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NPC names new leader

THE National People's Congress Standing Committee, China's top legislature, yesterday appointed Gao Qiang as vice chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Committee and director of the NPC Standing Committee's Budgetary Affairs Commission.

He replaces Zhu Zhigang, who was expelled last December after he was accused of illegally helping relatives to buy property at discounted prices.

Gao, 65, finished his post as Party chief of the Ministry of Health earlier this month.

A senior economist, Gao had served as vice minister of finance and deputy secretary-general of the State Council, or China's Cabinet.

He was appointed Party chief and vice minister of health 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 position of health minister was taken by Chen Zhu. He then acted as the vice minister and remained the Party chief.

Meanwhile, Mi Fengjun, a senior legislator in China's northeastern Jilin Province, was dismissed from the national legislature yesterday "for suspected violations of discipline and law" but the violations were not specified.


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