China

China Seeks to Rein in Security State

Position of new domestic security chief downgraded

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In a sign of how the Bo Xilai affair has shaped the thinking of China's rulers, the incoming Communist Party leadership appointed a new domestic security chief but downgraded the position.

The move could strengthen the rule of law after a decade in which the security forces amassed vast new powers and resources, and party insiders say it is a direct consequence of the scandal surrounding Mr. Bo, the former party highflier whose wife was convicted in August of murdering a British businessman.

Mr. Bo was thought by many in the party to be a potential candidate for the internal security post, a position in which he could have challenged the authority of new party leader Xi Jinping as overseer of a security apparatus that some believe has become so powerful it acts almost like a state-within-a-state.