China's Finance Minister Jin Renqing has resigned, a government spokesman said on Thursday, in the latest political shake-up before the ruling Communist Party's five-yearly gathering in October.
Jin, part of the team that has overseen the nation's economic boom for the past four years, was said to have quit for "personal reasons" amid reports of his involvement in a sex scandal and several economic blunders.
The official announcement of his demotion to a think-tank comes at a sensitive time politically, little more than six weeks before the Communist Party's Congress, held every five years, which opens on October 15.
President Hu Jintao is widely seen to be reshaping the top echelons of power so that at the Congress he can consolidate and strengthen his base for another five-year term.
Other high-profile politicians who have lost their posts ahead of the Congress include Li Zhaoxing, who was removed as foreign minister in April, and Chen Liangyu, sacked last year as Shanghai party chief, for graft.
"Due to personal reasons, comrade Jin Renqing has tendered his resignation and the central government has accepted his request," an official from the information office of the State Council, or cabinet, told AFP.
According to unconfirmed reports, Jin's replacement was Xie Xuren, the head of the State Administration of Taxation.
Unlike other recent personnel changes, Jin was not pushed into complete retirement, suggesting his errors may have been relatively minor.