state media unveiled a new title for President Xi Jinping calling him
"commander in chief" of the country’s new joint forces battle command
centre, as he seeks to consolidate power over the military.
State-run Xinhua news agency and state broadcaster CCTV both carried
reports in English and Chinese referring to Xi by the new description
for the first time after he visited the command centre on Wednesday.
The military should be "absolutely loyal", he said during his visit, the
official news agency Xinhua reported.
Under Xi, China has taken a more assertive foreign policy stance,
rapidly building up artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea
and regularly sailing vessels into waters around Japanese-controlled
islands in the East China Sea, raising fears of clashes.
Xi donned fatigues for the visit, although his garb did not carry any
rank insignia. He has generally worn a plain black or dark green uniform
for formal military occasions such as a giant parade in Beijing last
New "battle zones" were also established to focus on combat and joint
operation command systems, replacing the former "military regions" which
had separate command structures and significant administrative
Beijing has been building up its military for years, and it has invested
in an expanded fleet of submarines and its first indigenous aircraft
carrier, as it seeks to build a navy capable of projecting power abroad.