The Communist Party's flagship magazine published a lengthy article hailing China's past decade under President Hu Jintao as the most progressive era since the revolution - a move aimed at forging his legacy as he prepares to step down, analysts say.
Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao , the fourth generation of the leadership, are expected to hand over power to Vice-President Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang , the fifth generation, at the upcoming 18th party congress to be held in the coming weeks.
Incumbent and retired leaders have completed their informal summer summit at Beidaihe, the seaside resort near Beijing, to iron out differences on the new leadership line-up and major policies for the coming decade.
"Over the past 10 years, Chinese society has witnessed a remarkable, striding and historic progress," said the article in Qiushi, or Seeking the Truth, said.
Titled "Glorious achievements and historic strides", the article said that since taking office in 2002, the current leadership had overseen the continuation of one of the most remarkable economic transformations in history.
"The Chinese economy has witnessed an average of more than 10 per cent annual growth for 10 consecutive years, having produced a 'China miracle' amid steep turbulences in the global economy."
The article noted China's economy had leapfrogged those of four major industrialised nations during the period, going from sixth place in the global rankings to No2, trailing only the United States. "The gross domestic product surpassed Britain and France in 2005, Germany in 2008 and Japan in 2010," it said, suggesting that development had cemented China's status as a major global power.
It also noted that under the current administration, China became the top holder of foreign reserves - now more than US$3.2 trillion.
"Our comprehensive national strength has been greatly promoted, and our economy has made striding progress," it said. "The gap with developed nations has continuously narrowed, and the dream of catching up and overtaking [Western powers] set by the founders of new China has been gradually realised," it said.
"It is definitely Hu's intent to advance his legacy and hope it gets the stamp of approval at the party congress," said Dr Liu Kang, a professor of Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Duke University.
Zhang Lifan, a political affairs analyst, said: "It is a propaganda campaign aimed at preparing for the 18th party congress."
While acknowledging the progress the nation had made in terms of economic growth, both analysts said little advancement had been made in many crucial areas, such as social reform, the introduction of the rule of law and measures to protect against corruption.
They saw retrogression in political restructuring. "Basically the Hu-Wen administration is very conservative and we see little progress or even retrogression in political and social development over the past decade," Liu said.
Zhang added: "It has become a tradition to propagate leaders' 'great achievements and great progress' under their rule despite what is the truth otherwise."