BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- When extremely heavy rainstorms devastated central China in July, it was hard not to notice the troops of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on dams, reservoirs and riverbanks -- the most dangerous areas in the battle against floods.
They rushed to the forefront answering the Party's call, fixed dam breaches, evacuated residents in danger, and blasted barriers to release floodwater. The Party's flag flew over the field, and banners on their trucks read "People First, Life First."
This provides a glimpse of how the PLA is fulfilling duties in the new era.
A strong country must have a strong military, as only then can it guarantee the security of the nation, said Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Over the past few years, the PLA is redoubling the efforts to build a peace-loving world-class military that obeys the Party's command, can fight and win, and maintains excellent conduct.
In his latest speech, Xi reiterated that the Party must command the gun.
Firmly following the Party's leadership is the fundamental reason why the PLA triumphed over all kinds of trials and tribulations, and advanced from victory to victory, according to Xi.
MODERNIZATION FOR PROTECTING PEACE
China aims to basically complete the modernization of its national defense and the people's armed forces by 2035, and fully transform its armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.
Major structural changes took place in the armed forces after late November 2015, when Xi unleashed a sweeping military reform.
He attaches great importance to military training. Combat capability was established as the "sole and fundamental" benchmark of the military.
Only those capable of fighting can stop battles, and only those prepared for war don't have to fall into war, said Xi.
"We must put all of our mind and energy in honing the combat capability, and ensure that we are fully prepared, able to fight and capable of winning any time the Party or the people are in need," said Xu Dawei, a military officer, whose brigade works on drone technology.
As China keeps building up its national defense and armed forces, the defensive nature of the country's national defense policy remains unchanged.
"This is written into the National Defense Law, becoming a basic, abiding and long-term policy we uphold," said He Lei, a national lawmaker and former deputy head of the Academy of Military Sciences.
International public security goods were also provided during the PLA's recent exchanges and cooperation with its counterparts around the world.
Over the past 30 years, China has sent over 40,000 peacekeepers to 25 UN peacekeeping missions, according to a white paper on China's United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations released last September.
China is the second-largest contributor to both peacekeeping assessment and UN membership fees, and the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, said the white paper.
China never seeks hegemony or expansion and firmly opposes hegemonism and power politics, Xi said.
Instead, the Chinese military has tasked itself with the mission of building a community with a shared future for humanity, taking an active part in international disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in the wake of COVID-19.
Since February this year, China's armed forces have provided 25 batches of COVID-19 vaccine assistance to armed forces of over 20 countries including Pakistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Sudan.
The Chinese military will always be a staunch defender of world peace, said Xi.