How is China modernizing its navy? This article provides some perspective about China's navy modernization.
Source: China Power
New ships are being put to sea at an impressive rate. Between 2014 and 2018, China launched more submarines, warships, amphibious vessels, and auxiliaries than the number of ships currently serving in the individual navies of Germany, India, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Eighteen ships were commissioned by China in 2016 alone and at least another 14 were added in 2017.2 By comparison, the US Navy commissioned 5 ships in 2016 and 8 ships in 2017. Should China continue to commission ships at a similar rate, it could have 430 surface ships and 100 submarines within the next 15 years.
According to the Department of Defense (DoD), a significant focus of the PLAN’s modernization is upgrading and “augmenting its littoral warfare capabilities, especially in the South China Sea and East China Sea.” In response to this need, China has ramped up production of Jiangdao-class (Type 056) corvettes. Since being first commissioned in 2013, more than 41 Type 056 corvettes had entered service by mid-2018.[...]
Source: China Power
Further, as pointed out by GPF, the US Naval War College released a research paper worth looking at titled Surging Second Sea Force: China’s Maritime Law-Enforcement Forces, Capabilities, and Future in the Gray Zone and Beyond.
As per the report, China has merged few of its departments that had its own patrolling capabilities into a Chinese Coast Guard. China has also used commercial fishing vessels to further its scouting and minor naval defense capacity. GPF shows this graphic about changes to Chinese Coast Guard.
I remember there is a law that China flagged vessels are required to maintain capacity and design to aid and assist Chinese forces if required. It means these commercial vessels too may be deployed in naval conflict. The scale of Chinese Navy - PLAN and China Coast Guard CCG both needs to be reassessed.