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Top legislature appoints senior lawmaker
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The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China's top legislature, Saturday appointed Gao Qiang as vice chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Committee and director of the NPC Standing Committee's Budgetary Affairs Commission.

He replaced his predecessor Zhu Zhigang, who was expelled last December after being accused of breaking the law and was under investigation for helping his close relatives buy property at discounted prices.

The NPC Standing Committee endorsed Zhu's resignation from the position last October.

Gao, 65, was removed from the post of Communist Party chief of the Ministry of Health early this month.

A senior economist, Gao had served as vice finance minister and deputy secretary-general of the State Council (Cabinet).

He was appointed Party chief and vice minister of the Health Ministry during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2003 after former health minister Zhang Wenkang was sacked over the crisis. Gao became minister in April 2005.

In June 2007, Gao's post of health minister was taken by Chen Zhu. He then began to act as the vice minister and remained the Party chief.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2009)

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