Chinese state media say Deng Liqun, a former conservative propaganda chief known for his criticism of the economic reforms, has died. He was 99.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Deng died in Beijing on Tuesday of illnesses, but did not specify.

Unrelated to Deng Xiaoping, the former Chinese leader who championed economic reforms after decades of class struggle, Deng Liqun was an orthodox Marxist theoretician who criticized Deng Xiaoping's policies.

The official obituary praises Deng Liqun as a "times-tested, loyal Communist soldier," a "proletariat revolutionary" and an "outstanding leader" in the propaganda frontline for the ruling Communist Party's ideologies and theories.

In the years following the crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy protests, Deng warned repeatedly that economic reforms would lead China away from its socialist path.