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According to the latest monthly figures from the US Treasury Department, China's holdings of US Treasury bonds dropped for a fifth consecutive month in Dec to $1.15 trillion.
The number was an update of a figure released in February, after the US department adjusted its method of collecting data on foreign holdings of US government bonds, a move aimed at obtaining more information about the use of proxies buying and holding US securities.
As a result, China's June holdings of US Treasury securities have been amended to $1.31 trillion instead of $1.17 trillion. The figure at the end of 2011 was $51 billion higher than the previous calculation.
According to the revised data, China cut its holdings of US debt by $8.2 billion in 2011 compared with the previous year. It was the first time that the country had reduced its yearly holdings since 2001.
The country remains the largest foreign holder of US treasuries, but analysts suggest that China's $3.2 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves means that the country is beginning to rapidly diversify its portfolio of foreign currencies.
Senior Chinese officials, including the central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, have repeatedly emphasized the importance of diversification of China's foreign-exchange reserves to minimize the negative impact of fluctuations in the international financial markets.
The latest figure "clearly indicates China's intention not to put all its eggs in one basket", said Lu Feng, director of Peking University's China Macroeconomic Research Center, according to quotes in the Wall Street Journal.