China embarked on its reform and opening-up drive in the late 1970s, and reform has remained a key theme of the country's development ever since.
But nearly 40 years later, the reform drive is now in a deep-water zone -- many of the easier reforms have been accomplished, leaving difficult tasks.
Efforts have henceforth been made to focus more on top-level design of reforms and on the "key minorities," a term first raised in 2015 referring to the small group of officials at provincial and ministerial level who have both big power and responsibilities.
According to Xi, leading Party and government officials must practice what they preach firsthand, to make sure that reform measures are fully implemented.
The President has on various occasions highlighted the importance of implementation.
According to Xi, leading officials should be both the promoter and the actual practitioners of reform. With reform may come sharp yet brief pains, but without reform the pains will last much longer.
So far, a wide spectrum of areas have been improved, with notable advances in judicial reform, fiscal and taxation reform, state-owned enterprise reform, and military reform.
In the economic sphere, Xi has promised extensive supply-side structural reform.
The reform, proposed at the end of 2015 to resolve structural imbalances in the Chinese economy, has been focused on five tasks: cutting industrial capacity, reducing the housing inventory, lowering leverage, cutting corporate costs and improving weak economic links.
Efforts in these areas paid off last year. China had met the 2016 target of reducing 45 million tonnes of steel and 250 million tonnes of coal production capacity ahead of schedule, and a large number of zombie enterprises were shut down.
To advance supply-side structural reform, China has to handle well the relationships between government and market, between short term and long term, between addition and subtraction, and between supply and demand, Xi said in January during a group study held by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
As local legislative and political advisory bodies in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions convened their annual meetings early this year, supply-side structural reform has again been brought up to the top of local government's policy agenda.
China's supervisory system is another area of political reform that features far-reaching importance. Xi underscored in January last year that China must upgrade the structure of its supervisory organizations and set up a national supervisory system that oversees all state organs and civil servants.
Last month, new supervisory commissions in three localities -- Beijing and the provinces of Shanxi and Zhejiang -- all had their leaderships elected by local legislatures, a huge step in the right direction to curb corruption and underhand behavior.
In addition, the military structure has been overhauled. A tiered command system, including the Central Military Commission (CMC), and five theater commands, replaced the original seven military area commands.
Zhu Lijia, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the country had made remarkable progress, and the experience of the last few years would be invaluable over the next three to five years.
"The results were delivered thanks to a combination of top-level design and down-to-earth work," said Xin Ming.
Zheng Yongnian, professor and director of East Asian Institute at National University of Singapore, agreed.
Noting that China has managed to become the world's second largest economy through decades of reform, Zheng said China's reform drive has been highly consistent in its design and implementation from the beginning.
"Unlike Western countries where political parties work to hold back each other thus stifling key reforms, reform in China is rolled out in a highly consistent manner with a special focus put on its implementation," he said.
"The world could learn from China's reform experiences, particularly those after the CPC's 18th National Congress," Zheng said.