From Xinhua News Agency, March 8, 2022. Complete text:

Beijing – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday [March 7] highlighted the need to run the military in accordance with the law, issuing his call during a plenary meeting of national lawmakers from the armed forces at the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.

At the meeting, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), noted that strengthening the army should follow the rule of law. He also urged efforts to improve foreign-related laws and regulations in the military field to better safeguard China’s national interests.

Over the years, Xi always found time to sit with military deputies at the annual legislative session to hear their views and make further plans to strengthen national defense.

A review of Xi’s remarks on such occasions illustrates his focus on military issues.

Building military strength.

During a meeting with NPC deputies from the military in 2013, Xi put forward the goal of building strong armed forces under new conditions, saying that the people’s armed forces should obey the Party’s command, be able to fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct.

To achieve this goal, Xi ordered the Chinese armed forces to uphold the absolute leadership of the Party, deepen reforms, boost innovation in technology, cultivate high-quality and professional military personnel, and strengthen combat readiness.

In 2018, Xi told the military deputies that the troops should strengthen their training and be ready to fight at any time, adding that “combat readiness never comes from leisure hours.”

Following Xi’s orders, the Chinese military has placed great emphasis on combat effectiveness, improved its command systems and capacity for joint operations, and strengthened training under combat conditions.

According to a three-step development strategy for modernizing China’s national defense and armed forces, the centenary objectives of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) should be achieved by 2027, the modernization of national defense and the armed forces should be basically completed by 2035, and China’s armed forces will be fully transformed into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.

Caring for military personnel.

Not only has Xi emphasized military building at NPC annual sessions, but he has also taken the opportunity to express his concern for soldiers and officers, especially those working in remote areas or under dangerous conditions.

During the NPC session in 2013, Xi met with a deputy from a border security troop in Tibet and asked about working and living conditions of the border guards, inquiring whether they had sufficient oxygen supplies.

In 2015, Xi told a military engineer responsible for the disposal of scrapped ammunition to be cautious while working and stay healthy.

In 2017, Xi received a deputy who spent three decades in the desert conducting military research, and praised his dedication.

“Military personnel are the most admirable people; we shall not make the heroes suffer from both injury and misery,” Xi said.

Following Xi’s guidance, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs was established to better settle affairs related to veterans, as well as the injured, sick or disabled military personnel.

In Xi’s words, these efforts are intended to “make military service an occupation that enjoys public respect.”

Defensive in nature.

China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, as described in the National Defense Law.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the country has never started any war or conflict, and China has voluntarily downsized its armed forces by over 4 million troops, starting from the late 1970s.

Xi has stressed on several occasions that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order and a provider of public goods.

The distinctive feature of China’s national defense in the new era is that it never seeks hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence.

The Chinese military has actively engaged in peacekeeping, maritime escort, and humanitarian relief, providing increasing public security products.

In accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, the PLA Navy has provided protection to over 7,000 Chinese and foreign ships in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the coast of Somalia since 2008.

“The Chinese armed forces will always be a staunch force in keeping world peace,” Xi said.