BEIJING -- China has replaced its top official in Hong Kong as anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous city enter their eighth month.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday that Luo Huining had been appointed to head China's liaison office in Hong Kong.

The former Communist Party chief for Shanxi province takes over from Wang Zhimin. Xinhua did not give a reason for the change.

Protest violence has eased somewhat in the past month, but sporadic clashes with police have continued. The protesters are demanding fully democratic elections for the city's leader and legislature and an investigation into police use of force to suppress the demonstrations.