It’s only happened once before that a Chinese president personally addressed the People’s Liberation Army. On December 31, 2015 China’s President Xi described his vision for the future of the nation’s military. Only President Mao Zadong in 1952 and in 1953 addressed the army in the same way.
A new military model
Along with his position as president, Xi is the chairman of the Central Military Commission. He used the speech to call for his military reform plans to be fully implemented. Xi’s plan outlines an ambitious modernization of the Chinese military. It adjusts a model instituted during Mao’s rule.
A consolidation of power
According to some this speech demonstrates that President Xi is consolidating his authority and is demanding loyalty from the Liberation Army while he implements massive military reform.
Xi’s address is called a precept speech or Xun Ci. A literal translation is “admonishing words.” Zhang Lifan, a party historian, said the phrase Xun Ci suggested a sense of sternness and admonishment towards the lower ranks. It also shows assertiveness in the overhaul to remove any resistance from within the army.
Source: South China Morning Post, January 5, 2016