A July 9, 2021 article in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) media outlet People's Daily commented on Chinese President Xi Jinping's July 1, 2021 speech marking the CCP's 100th anniversary. Quoting Xi, the article referred to military modernization as a means to "safeguard the leadership of the CCP and China's socialist system" and to project power regionally.
This latter point is a departure from the CCP's traditional public depiction of the mission of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) as territorial defense. Indeed, an expansion of the PLA's mission to include influencing the "region and beyond" means not only that the PLA will become a modernized, world-class military, but that it will also become an expeditionary imperialist force.
It is also worth noting that in his speech, Xi repeatedly stressed the need for total CCP political control over the military, and total military loyalty to the CCP – as if he were addressing political opponents either within the PLA or allied with it. Xi set out three target dates for phases of military modernization: 2027, as a "centenary goal" marking the anniversary of the founding of the PLA; 2035, for the completion of the modernization of the CCP's overall defenses; and "mid-century," for it to become a global military power. The People's Daily article repeatedly used the term "new era" to refer to the CCP's future breakout as a dominant global force.
Below is the article in the People's Daily:
"The People's Army Has Provided Strong Backing For The Consolidation Of The New People's Regime"
"'A strong country must have a strong military, since only then can it guarantee the security of the nation.' At the ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that 'the people's military has made indelible achievements on behalf of the Party and the people. It is a strong pillar for safeguarding our socialist country and preserving national dignity, and a powerful force for protecting peace in our region and beyond.' He stressed: 'As we put conscious effort into learning from history to create a bright future, we must accelerate the modernization of national defense and the armed forces.'
"On August 1, 1927, a gunshot rang out at Nanchang, kicking off the Party's armed resistance against the Kuomintang reactionaries. Since then, the people's army under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party has bravely joined the historical torrent of the pursuit of liberation and happiness for the Chinese people and of independence and revival for the Chinese nation, and has been closely linked to the fate of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation.
"For more than 90 years, the people's army, with its blood and lives, has gone through the smoke and fires of wars, made huge sacrifices in exchange for one glorious victory after another, and laid a solid foundation for the establishment of a new China, in which the people become their own masters, and completely reversed the Chinese nation's backwardness in modern history that had made it vulnerable to foreign invasions.
"The people's army has provided a strong backing for the consolidation of the new people's regime, for the consolidation of China's status as a great power, and for maintaining the dignity of the Chinese nation. It also provides strong support to safeguard the leadership of the CCP and China's socialist system, to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, to safeguard the important strategic opportunity period for China's development, and to safeguard regional and 'world peace.'"
"Building A Strong People's Military Is The Unremitting Pursuit Of Our Party"
"General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: 'At the point that it was engaged in violent struggle, the Party came to recognize the irrefutable truth that it must command the gun and build a people's military of its own.' Building a strong people's military is the unremitting pursuit of our Party, and the absolute leadership of the Party over the people's army is the foundation of building the army and the soul of a strong army.
"The fundamental principle and system of absolute leadership of the Party over the armed forces, which was originated in the Nanchang Uprising, was founded in the Sanwan Reorganization, and finalized in the Gutian Congress, is the political trait and fundamental advantage of the people's army that completely distinguishes it from all the old armies. Millions of revolutionary soldiers unswervingly listened to the Party and followed the Party, rose up more in the setbacks, marched forward bravely in the hardships, and forged an invincible force of steel that could not be dragged down, could not be broken, and could not be defeated.
"On the long and stormy road of the revolution, the most common refrain of our commanders and soldiers was: As long as we follow the Party, we will surely win. Our history tells us that the Party's command over the gun guarantees the army's nature and roots of responsibility. As long as it has the Chinese Communist Party and its strong leadership, the people's army will always have the direction and strength to advance. On the way forward, the people's army must firmly adhere to the absolute leadership of the Party over the army, considering it as the soul of the people's army that can never be changed and the lifeblood that can never be lost. At all times and under all circumstances, the people's army must hold the Party's flag as its flag, the direction of the Party as its direction, and the will of the Party as its will."
"Without A Strong Military, It Is Impossible To Have A Strong Motherland"
"The consolidation of national defense and a strong military is the strategic support for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in the new era.
"Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, has focused on achieving the 'two hundred years' goal and the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and has proposed building a people's army that follows the Party, that is capable of fighting and winning, and that forges exemplary conduct. [These] are the goals of building a strong military in the new situation [and] timely and innovative military strategy guidance, as well as formulating military strategic guidelines in the new situation, and promoting the people's army to take solid steps on the road to a strong military with Chinese characteristics.
"Without a strong military, it is impossible to have a strong motherland. To adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must coordinate development and security, enriching the country and strengthening the military. We should accelerate the building out of a world-class army, to help rejuvenate the Chinese nation and make people's lives better."
'The Military Capability Must Be Compatible With The Strategic Needs Of Achieving The Great Rejuvenation Of The Chinese Nation'
"General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed: 'On the journey ahead, we must fully implement the Party's thinking on strengthening the military in the new era as well as our military strategy for the new era, maintain the Party's absolute leadership over the people's armed forces, and follow a Chinese path to military development. We will take comprehensive measures to enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, to strengthen them through reform and technology and the training of competent personnel, and to operate them in accordance with the law. We will elevate our people's armed forces to world-class standards, so that we are equipped with greater capacity and more reliable means for safeguarding our national sovereignty, security, and development interests.'
"The modernization process of national defense and military must be compatible with the modernization process of the country, and the military capability must be compatible with the strategic needs of achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. In the face of profound changes in the national security environment and the need for a strong country with a strong military, as long as we adhere to the Xi Jinping's thought on strengthening the military as a guide, [we should] resolutely implement the fundamental principle and system of the Party's absolute leadership over the armed forces, always focus on war preparation, and build a strong force of fine troops that is ready to fight, capable of fighting, and sure to win. As long as we comprehensively modernize our national defense and armed forces, comprehensively enhance our strategic capability to safeguard our nation's sovereignty, security, and development interests, and make strides toward the Party's goal of building a strong army in the new era, the people's armed forces will surely be able to push forward the cause of building a strong army in the new era and better fulfill the missions and tasks entrusted to it by the Party and the people."
"The Strong Army Is Striding [Ahead On] A New Journey"
"The wind is strong and the ship is in full sail; the strong army is striding [ahead on] a new journey. The 19th Party Congress established the strategic arrangement of striving to fundamentally modernize the national defense and military by 2035 and to build the people's armed force into a world-class military by the middle of this century. The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Party Congress clearly pointed out that the centenary goal of the founding of the People's Liberation Army must be achieved in 2027.
"A grand blueprint has been drawn up, and it is time to forge ahead. Let us unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, unswervingly take the road of strengthening the military with Chinese characteristics, strengthen national defense and the military to keep up with the times, continuously write more brilliant chapters of a strong country and a strong military, and continuously create a new glorious performance worthy of the history and the era!"
 Opinion.people.com.cn/n1/2021/0709/c1003-32152882.html, July 9, 2021.
 The Nanchang Uprising 南昌起义), also known as the Nanchang Rebellion（南昌起事). The incident, which took place in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, on August 1, 1927, was the first armed confrontation between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), and the beginning of two civil wars between the KMT and the CCP. August 1 is therefore designated by the Communist Party as Army Day.
 The Sanwan Reorganization（三湾改编）was carried out in Sanwan Village, Yongxin County, Jiangxi Province from September 29 to October 3, 1927, after the failed Autumn Harvest Uprising led by Mao Zedong. The reorganization guaranteed the Communist Party's absolute leadership over the armed forces, both politically and organizationally. Mao Zedong's signature move was the Party branch is organized on a company basis, which meant that the Communist Party had to set up an organization as low as the company level to guarantee its absolute control over the armed forces.
 The Gutian Congress（古田会议）was a party representative conference held by the fourth Army, the most powerful of the Red Army, in the town of Gutian, Shanghang County, Fujian Province from December 28 to 29, 1929. The meeting established Mao Zedong's leading position in the Fourth Red Army. The most important element of its resolution was to further establish the principle of absolute leadership of the CCP over the armed forces and to emphasize the importance of strengthening its political work. The resolution set out a set of principles and measures for realizing the Party's leadership over the armed forces, and stated that the CCP should become the "leading center" of the armed forces.