For China watchers and human rights activists, the continued harassment of Chen Guangcheng’s family members is receiving considerable attention, and rightly so. But of more long term significance may be the latest head to roll in the Bo Xilai aftermath: Zhou Yongkang.Until recently, Zhou was head of China’s vast domestic security apparatus, responsible for the country’s police, courts, and, ahem, the internal security apparatus. He was a member of the elite nine-man Politburo Standing Committee and was said to be a strong supporter of Bo; before Bo himself was purged there had been widespread speculation that Zhou was lobbying for Bo to replace him when Zhou’s term expired toward the end of the year.Judging from how Bo ruled Chongqing with an iron fist, it is clear that China may have dodged a bullet — specifically, a bullet in the back of the head, which is how Communist regimes in the past handled pesky opposition figures.That Zhou has been politically decapitated is significant (and that his ouster has become public knowledge only weeks after the event is noteworthy, too). Zhou was one of many hardliners opposed to any attempts to liberalize the political system, and his removal is another sign the modernizers, led by Premier Wen Jiabao, are gaining ground.Let’s hope the new leadership can push the Chinese internal security forces to more subtle and less thuggish behavior than has been reported out of Shandong. Even for its own sake, the Communist Party needs to be exploring ways to open space up for discussion and dissent; China badly needs a constitutional order and a political system that is robust and flexible enough to ride out the bumpy road ahead.