China's legislature approved a new Cabinet Tuesday that includes younger members more closely tied to economic reforms of senior leader Deng Xiaoping and Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang.
The 2,859 delegates of the National People's Congress also passed constitutional amendments sanctioning private businesses and the right to transfer use of land.Delegates confirmed 41 ministerial posts, named three vice premiers and appointed nine as state councilors to the State Council, or Cabinet.
They also trimmed the council as part of efforts to become more efficient, eliminating posts for two vice premiers, two state councilors and four ministers.
Qian Qichen, 60, who has been vice foreign minister in charge of relations with the Soviet Union, succeeded Wu Xueqian as foreign minister, while Gen. Qin Jiwei, 74, a member of the Politburo and head of the Beijing Military Region, took over the Defense Ministry from ailing Zhang Aiping, 78.
The three vice premiers who will serve under Premier Li Peng are outgoing Foreign Minister Wu, 67, State Planning Commission Minister Yao Yilin, 71, and Tian Jiyun, 59. Yao and Tian previously served as vice premiers.
Ten of the 41 ministers are new, as are seven of the nine state councilors. The average age of the premier, vice premiers and nine councilors dropped from 67 to 61.