Xinhua has finally published a feature article commemorating the 20th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping's southern tour in 1992 - almost a month after the event.
The 7,685-word story, written by four reporters and eight assistants, also lauded President Hu Jintao's 'Scientific Development Concept' as a legitimate extension of Deng's spirit.
People's Daily and Guangdong media ran their own belated commemorative articles a week ago.
The Xinhua article said the 'Theory of the Three Represents' presented by former party chief Jiang Zemin was a timely solution to point out the Communist Party's direction in the 1980s and 1990s, while the 'Scientific Development Concept' pointed out the direction it should take in the 21st century.
Experts say the mainland media have tended to downplay the anniversary in the past because Deng's support for bold reforms might embarrass regional leaders.
When Premier Wen Jiabao visited Guangdong earlier this month, he affirmed Deng's legacy while visiting a private firm on the outskirts of Guangzhou. He pledged further reform and openness, saying they were the only way to solve the mainland's challenges and difficulties.
Xinhua's story, published on Monday and widely cited by mainland media yesterday, outlined Deng's tour and mottos and the way they drove far-reaching reforms and boosted economic performance.
The second part of the story showcased the 'Scientific Development Concept' as an important part of continuous reform.
Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the article was part of a concerted effort by the propaganda authorities to send out a 'consistent message' about Deng's support for reform in the run-up to the 18th party congress this autumn.
'This highlights the continual need to strive for reform ... the party's Central Committee will continue to generate stories about Deng's southern tour until the change of leadership this autumn. It's a main melody to match its propaganda strategy,' Lau said.
Professor Hu Xingdou, a commentator and political economist at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said he hoped the Xinhua story could give more momentum to the push for reforms, which had stalled.
'China is not feeling very enthusiastic about reform at the moment as it involves the interests of many stakeholders who are in power,' he said. 'However, if determination for reform is not extremely strong, the country's development will be deformed.'