China is well on its way to establishing a strong, modern army, as it has rolled out measures to restructure the armed forces, increased civil-military integration and taken a zero-tolerance stance on corruption. [Special coverage]
Military reform accelerated when President Xi Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), put forward "the dream of a strong army" in late 2012.
The new military structure, in which the CMC takes charge of the overall military administration, theater commands focus on combat and the different military branches pursue their own development, has been implemented.
A slew of measures began in December with the inauguration of the general command for the Army of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the PLA Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force.
Days later, the former military headquarters -- staff, politics, logistics and armaments -- were reorganized into 15 new agencies under the CMC.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with the new chiefs of each agency on Jan. 11, describing the reshuffle as "a breakthrough and crucial step" toward a strong military.
In February, five PLA theater commands were established, replacing the seven military area commands.
These closely-followed steps have stunned audiences at home and abroad, demonstrating the nation's determination in pushing reform to create a strong army.
Xi further ordered the establishment of a joint battle command system that was "absolutely loyal, resourceful in fighting, efficient in commanding and courageous and capable of winning wars."
A more elite military will improve capability, and to this end, in September, the country announced a cut of 300,000 standing troops to be finished by the end of 2017.