Peking replaces finance minister

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

PEKING (Reuter) - China's Finance Minister, Wang Bingqian, who presided over a broadening budget deficit as Peking sought to keep sagging state industries afloat, resigned yesterday after 11 years in office.

The official Xinhua news agency said Mr Wang, 67, would retain his position as a state councillor, or member of China's cabinet. The former vice-finance minister Liu Zhongli, 57, replaces him.

From the late 1980s Mr Wang repeatedly warned Peking's political planners of the dangers inherent in their policy of funnelling billions of pounds in subsidies into inefficient state industries to preserve their role as the 'backbone' of China's socialist economy.