The Political Work Department (PWD) of the Central Military Commission (CMC) serves as the fighting force's main political eduction, propaganda, and party organization. Established during General Secretary Xi Jinping's 2016 reforms, the PWD assumed many of the former General Political Department's (GPD) responsibilities, although it no longer acts as overseer of the PLA's prosecutorial or discipline inspection tools.
Since its foundation on August 1, 1927, the PLA has behaved much more as a tool of the Communist Party of China (CPC) rather than a professional military force. As such, state interests have always been secondary to CPC policies. Intelligence Ledger analysts have repeatedly noted as much, with PLA Ground Force troops repeatedly being utilized to crush protests, riots, and rebellions in places as diverse as Beijing, Tibet, and Xinjiang. Despite encouraging reforms at the upper-echelons of the chain of command, the CPC has gone to great lengths in order to ensure that the party-military identity remains a hallmark of China's armed forces. The PWD, therefore, is simply another tool through which the party exercises its control and influence.
The fact that the stated purposed of the PWD is both internal and external, rather than purely external, is indicative enough of the organization's purpose. In layman's terms, the PWD's commissars main focus should be on the education, trustworthiness, discipline, and morale of personnel, all while ensuring the CPC maintains its control over the rank and file. The PLA's overall structure assists in the accomplishment of this mission, as the commissar and committee systems the PWD employ augment the traditional chain of command in a relatively effective way, albeit disputes between combat officers and political appointees remain a major concern for Beijing.
Despite the majority of its work being focused on internal operations, the PWD also operates outside of China. The organization's Liaison Bureau utilizes intelligence officers in both official and non-official covers to complete missions in Taiwan, Vietnam, and Japan.