BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has seen China realize its intermediate goal for national defense and military development.
China aims to basically complete the modernization of national defense and armed forces by 2035 and fully transform the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into a world-class military by the mid-21st century.
Toward the goal, Xi Jinping's thinking on strengthening the military has demonstrated its immense power.
The thinking, the guiding position of which was established at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), requires building the PLA into a world-class military that obeys the Party's commands, can fight and win, and maintains excellent conduct.
FOLLOW THE PARTY
The people's armed forces must absolutely and unremittingly follow the leadership of the Party, taking this leadership as its soul and lifeblood, according to President Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
"It is essential for the military to follow the Party's commands, which determines the political orientation of military development," Xi once said.
Over the past years, the PLA has organized lectures, seminars and tutoring sessions, providing direct theoretical guidance to grassroots officers and soldiers to ensure the military stays absolutely loyal, pure and reliable.
The PLA has strengthened its resistance to "color revolution" attempts by hostile forces, as well as erroneous political views.
The PLA has also taken efforts to thoroughly eliminate the pernicious influence of corrupt former senior military figures and continue to improve political work in a bid to purify the political ecosystem.
Soldiers and officers are trained to have an increasingly sober understanding that "the Party commands the gun" imbues the PLA with unique political traits that set it apart from previous armies and those from other countries.
CAPABILITY OF WINNING WARS
"A country needs a strong military before it can truly be strong and secure," said Xi in 2016 at a gathering commemorating the 80th anniversary of the victory of the Long March undertaken by the Red Army in the 1930s.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, immediately after which he assumed the top post in the Party, Xi has repeatedly stressed that being able to fight and win is the key task of building strong military forces.
The vitality of the people's armed forces lies in the combat capability, which, according to Xi, should be the "sole and fundamental" benchmark of the military.
As chairman of the CMC, Xi does not simply command the PLA from behind a desk. Over the years, he inspected troops, boarded warships, and learned about the flight training in the harsh Gobi Desert.
The military as a whole has stepped up efforts to advance combat readiness. Measures abounded, including establishing an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea and conducting patrols in the South China Sea.
Xi in November made the latest order to transform and upgrade military training at a faster pace, as the country faces new changes in the security environment, military combat situation and forms of modern warfare.
Xi has repeatedly told soldiers to carry forward the army's fine traditions forged during the revolution.
The traditions of veteran Red Army soldiers must never be cast aside, and the political character of hard work and plain living should never be changed, Xi said.
Over a protracted period of praxis, the people's armed forces have cultivated their own unique honorific tradition and exemplary conduct under the leadership of the CPC.
Xi once told senior officers that in all circumstances the fighting spirit of fearing neither hardship nor death must not be given up. At a time when the Party, the country and the people need it, the military must have this courage and spirit, he said.
The PLA demonstrated fine conduct this year by reacting swiftly to the Party's commands and shouldering heavy responsibilities to fight COVID-19.
Under the guidance of Xi Jinping's thinking on strengthening the military, the PLA will continue to follow the Chinese path of building a strong military, aiming for greater strategic capacity to safeguard the country's sovereignty, security and development interests.