PEKING — China replaced 11 key government ministers today, including the chiefs of defense, research and education, as part of the Communist Party's program to move young and skilled professionals into senior positions.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's Parliament, announced the appointments and said the average age of the new ministers is under 55.
In an announcement carried by the official New China News Agency, the standing committee said the ministers of astronautics, electronics, ordnance (weapons), petroleum, coal, railways, and radio and television have been replaced.
Also replaced was the minister of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which conducts research for the military.
"This is part of the Chinese government's program to make cadres more revolutionary, younger in average age, better educated and more professionally competent," the news agency said.
The announcements coincide with a systematic replacement of party secretaries and governors in many of China's provinces and autonomous regions. Changes of party secretary in Liaoning, Jiangxi and Tibet have been announced over the last week.
Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang has said that 70% of the officials in 136 top government and party positions will be replaced by the end of the year.