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New vice premiers assigned responsibilities
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China's newly elected vice premiers have been given their responsibilities. Vice Premier Li Keqiang will be in charge of economic development, reform and prices, Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang will head industry, energy and telecommunications while Vice Premier Wang Qishan takes on trade and finance.

The State Council held its first executive meeting on March 19 to assign responsibilities to the new cabinet, according to a Nanfang Metropolis News report yesterday. Though there were no official announcements, the newspaper gave a breakdown of the newly elected leaders' responsibilities based on the meetings they subsequently attended.

Li Keqiang takes charge of macro-economic controls

Vice Premier Li Keqiang attended the March 23 Ninth China Development Forum sponsored by the National Development and Reform Commission. The forum is held every year attended by the responsible vice premier.

Li is expected to play an important role in macro-economic management in the next five years and take charge of development and reform, prices, fiscal administration and statistics. As executive vice premier he will also act on Premier Wen Jiabao's behalf when Wen is overseas, according to the newly amended Working Rules of the State Council.

Zhang Dejiang responsible for key sectors of the economy

Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang will take charge of industry, telecommunications, energy and transport. On the afternoon of March 26, accompanied by Minister of Industry and Information Li Yizhong and Energy Bureau Director Zhang Guobao, the vice premier visited the Tenth China International Nuclear Industry Exhibition.

Wang Qishan heads trade and finance

Vice Premier Wang Qishan met US Trade Representative Susan Schwab in Beijing on March 21, indicating he will succeed Wu Yi in overseeing trade, quality inspection, customs, industrial and commercial administration, and tourism. The veteran financial leader will also take charge of finance and push forward reform of the financial system.

Observers point out that the division of responsibilities on the State Council has changed. Previously executive Vice Premier Huang Ju was in charge of industry, transport and finance, while former Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan presided over development and reform.

Hui Liangyu heads agriculture, forestry and irrigation

Vice Premier Hui Liangyu will continue to head agriculture, forestry and irrigation as before. On March 27, he hosted a national videoconference on agriculture and food productivity. He will also take responsibility for national minority and religious affairs.

Liu Yandong takes charge of science, education, culture, sports, and HK, Macao affairs

Liu Yandong, state councilor and Political Bureau member will take charge of education, culture, sports, science and technology. She has been named first vice chairperson of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of XXIX Olympiad. As an ex-head of the United Front Work Department with long experience of Hong Kong and Macao affairs, she will continue to be responsible for Hong Kong and Macao. On March 18, she accompanied President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping to meet the Hong Kong and Macao chief executives.

Ma Kai responsible for the State Council General Office

State Councilor Ma Kai was promoted secretary-general of the State Council. He will be responsible for the work of the General Office. Concurrently, he will be secretary of the Work Committee of Central Government Departments and president of the National School of Administration.

Dai Bingguo in charge of foreign affairs, Taiwan relations

State Councilor Dai Bingguo will take charge of foreign affairs and cross-Straits relations. He will also head overseas Chinese affairs. He recently visited the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council and its China News Service.

Of five other state councilors, Liang Guanglie has been appointed defense minister and Meng Jianzhu minister of public security.

(China.org.cn by Zhou Jing, March 31, 2008)

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