China replaces 2 in Cabinet, adds to death penalty

THE BALTIMORE SUN

BEIJING -- China replaced its ministers of public security and trade yesterday at a closing session of the legislature's standing committee. It also established the death penalty for serious traffickers in narcotics and pornography.

Chinese officials and foreign diplomats had expected the Cabinet shuffle, and the changes did not give any clues to the status of China's ongoing power struggle.

Few Cabinet changes have taken place during the last year, and they have been announced with little fanfare, because China still appears to be trying to preserve an image of political stability.

Wang Fang, 70, the minister who presided over public security during demonstrations in Beijing in June 1989, was replaced by his deputy minister, Tao Siju, 55, the official Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

It was not clear whether his removal was related to his performance in 1989 or to his age.

Zheng Tuobin, 66, the minister of foreign economic relations and trade, was replaced by his deputy minister, Li Lanqing, 58. No reason was given.

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