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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
China finance minister steps down
Jin Renqing (file image from March 2007)
Jin Renqing has been finance minister for four years
The Chinese Finance Minister, Jin Renqing, has resigned for personal reasons, the government has announced.

He has been replaced by the top official in charge of taxes, Xie Xuren, Xinhua news agency reports.

The government said Mr Jin, 63, will become deputy chief at a Communist Party think-tank.

Mr Jin's resignation is not believed to be linked to his job performance as the economy is doing well, but there has been speculation over his private life.

Hong Kong newspapers have linked him with a sex scandal involving a disgraced party official.

If that is behind the resignation, it will come as a blow to the Communist Party, which is just weeks away from the National Congress - the most important political meeting in five years, reports the BBC's Michael Bristow in Beijing.

'Non-policy reasons'

"Due to personal reasons, comrade Jin Renqing has tendered his resignation and the central government has accepted his request," a State Council official said.

His appointment to the State Council's Development Research Centre had already been approved, the official told French news agency AFP.

Since Jin Renqing took over as finance minister four years ago, China's economy has been in good shape, our correspondent says.

Tax revenues are up, as is the trade surplus and the country has amassed the world's largest foreign currency reserves.

And although China is experiencing its highest level of inflation in 10 years, analysts say the resignation has nothing to do with the economy.

"Everything I have been told suggests that it's for non-policy reasons," Stephen Green, senior economist at Standard Chartered bank in Shanghai, told the BBC.

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