But the official People's Daily appeared to have other ideas. It headlined Hu Jintao's speech as an "eulogy" for the reform.
The Associated Press compiled a chronology of China's reform era:
1978: Economic, social and cultural reforms launched under Deng Xiaoping, two years after the death of Mao Zedong. GDP per capita is 381 yuan.
1979: U.S. and China establish diplomatic relations. One-child policy introduced.
1980: First special economic zone established in Shenzhen.
1982: Population surpasses 1 billion.
1986: Deng promotes "open-door" policy to encourage foreign investment.
1988: Spiraling inflation and corruption prompt limits on foreign investment and monetary flows.
1989: Students protest in Tiananmen Square to demand economic, political and social change. Hundreds believed killed in ensuing crackdown.
1990: Communist China's first stock exchange opens in Shanghai.
1992: Deng makes southern China tour to relaunch economic reforms in face of criticism from conservatives.
1994: China connects to the Internet.
1996: Chinese currency becomes convertible.
1997: Deng dies. Jiang Zemin takes over. China regains control of Hong Kong.
1998: China injects $500 billion into its faltering banking sector.
1999: Government outlaws Falun Gong.
2001: China joins the World Trade Organization.
2002: Entrepreneurs allowed to join the Communist Party.
2003: Hu Jintao replaces Jiang as president. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) breaks out in China and eventually kills nearly 800 worldwide. China's first manned spacecraft orbits the earth.
2004: The United Nations estimates 1 million Chinese are infected with HIV.
2005: China becomes the world's fourth-largest economy. The government stops pegging the currency to the U.S. dollar.
2006: Three Gorges Dam and railway to Tibet are completed. China's foreign exchange reserves reach $1 trillion, becoming world's largest.
2007: China tops the world with 210 million Internet users. GDP per capita reaches 18,900 yuan ($2,760).
2008: Sichuan earthquake kills 70,000 people. Beijing hosts Olympic Games.