The Chinese Communist Party's theoretical journal Red Flag, once a key fount of Maoist ideological inspiration and guidance, will cease publication in June, authorities announced Saturday.

The journal will be replaced by a reform-oriented magazine called Qiushi, or Seeking Truth, the official New China News Agency reported.The new journal's name is taken from the slogan, "Seek truth from facts," popularized by China's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in his drive to supplant ideological orthodoxy with a pragmatic national quest for economic development.

In recent years, Red Flag has been a twice-monthly, 48-page magazine with a circulation of about 3 million.

Founded in 1958 as the official voice of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, Red Flag assumed tremendous importance during the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, when political struggles and ideological purity took precedence over economic efficiency.

The late Chairman Mao Tse-tung, who launched the Cultural Revolution for his own ideological and political purposes, had named the magazine himself, and the Chinese characters used for the magazine's masthead are in Mao's calligraphy. Throughout the Cultural Revolution, it was a voice for Mao's ideas of class struggle and revolutionary egalitarianism.

Even after Mao's death in 1976, Red Flag continued as an ideologically strident voice in a China that has been turning toward market-oriented economic reforms and an increasingly relaxed political atmosphere.

After top-level personnel changes at the journal last summer, which coincided with a gradual fading away of the anti-bourgeois liberalization campaign, Red Flag adopted a more reformist tone. But at the same time, rumors began to spread of the journal's impending demise.