As President Xi Jinping has said, an important task for the country under new circumstances is to build a strong military that is "absolutely loyal" to the Communist Party of China, will abide by discipline and be ready to ensure victory in any war.
A solid military is a prerequisite for building a well-off society in an all-round way in China and rejuvenating the Chinese nation. As emphasized at the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has to develop a strong national defense force that would be in line with the country's global standing and meet the needs of national security and economic development.
But the Chinese Dream, especially the dream to build a strong military, is often seen by the West as part of China's attempt to establish military hegemony. The truth is, China has always been a peace-loving country and it firmly pursues the path of peaceful development and will never seek hegemony and expansion.
If the Americans can have an "American dream" and the Europeans a "European dream", there is no reason why the Chinese people cannot have a Chinese Dream.
To realize the Chinese Dream, China has to achieve national development and socialist modernization through peaceful and civilized means. In this context, the West has nothing to worry about the modernization of China's military. Unlike former colonial powers, China has never invaded another country. On the contrary, it has always advocated (and still does advocate) harmonious coexistence, seeking common ground and shelving differences.
The PLA as a pillar of State security follows the trend of the times and follows a principle that is different from colonial aggression and expansion. And China firmly believes in the principles of peace, cooperation and development of military ties with other countries.
Besides, the more than three decades of rapid economic growth that China has experienced was not based on beggar-thy-neighbor policy. Instead, it was based on reform and opening up China's market to the outside world. China's policy has benefited the rest of the world as well as itself.
In recent years, especially after the global financial crisis, China has become the engine of global economic growth. Facts and figures testify that the Chinese Dream, including the dream to build a strong military, is one of peace and win-win development for China and the rest of the world.
The Chinese Dream includes building China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, powerful, democratic and harmonious. It entails the goal of national reunification and requires China to help maintain world peace and facilitate the development of the human race.
It is thus clear that the modernization of China's defense forces is an essential part of national rejuvenation. If its military is strong, China can be on the way to realize the dream of rejuvenating the nation.
The author is deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.
(China Daily 10/08/2013 page9)