An American business consultant and author with high-level Chinese contacts said there is no less commitment to one-party rule in China, so any media reforms will only go so far.
"You can't have a totally free media as we would have in the West and still maintain the integrity of a one-party system," said Robert Lawrence Kuhn, who wrote the book "How China's Leaders Think." He said he thinks restrictions are being eased, "but it has to be limited."
The new leadership has to tread carefully, Kuhn said, because in the age of the Internet, talk about reforms won't be forgotten.
"High expectations, if they are not fulfilled, will create a worse situation," he said.
AP researchers Flora Ji and Henry Hou contributed to this report.