Beijing: In a major administrative move after the once-in-a-decade leadership change, China`s new leader Xi Jinping Monday downgraded the status of the domestic security chief, apparently to clip the wings of the powerful post which posed a serious challenge to the leadership.
A brief announcement here today said Party`s new Central Committee has appointed Meng Jianzhu as secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, which controlled the internal security of the country.
The post has become powerful as China has allocated about USD 110 billion for the internal security this years which is far larger than the defence budget of USD 100 billion.
Meng, a part of the new 25-member Politburo replaces the Zhou Yongkang, the outgoing member of the nine member Standing Committee under former General Secretary, Hu Jintao.
The post is now held by a Politburo member instead of Standing Committee member, which in Chinese power structure is a major downgrade.
In the new power structure the Standing Committee has been reduced from nine to seven members.
This was the first bold move by the Hu?s successor, Xi who has emerged as the most powerful Chinese leader in recent time.
He has already take over as General Secretary of the Party and military chief holding the post of Chairman of the Military Commission.
He would be taking over as President when Hu formally retires in March.
Observers say that the move was aimed at clipping the powers of the internal security post.
Also it was snub of sorts to Zhou as he was regarded as one associated with the disgraced Party leader Bo Xilai who is currently waiting for his trial in connection with charges of sex, sleaze and corruption, besides shielding his wife Gu Kailai`s involvement in the murder of British national Neil Heywood