This would put the Chinese at least 15 years behind the latest American engine technology, though it is a vast improvement from a decade ago where they were nearly 30 years behind.
Because of this technological gap, China has previously relied on foreign engines (from Rolls Royce or various Russian manufacturers) for its fighters--even those that it prided itself on having indigenously developed. China is apparently using this engine in its J-10 multirole fighters.
I don't know enough about engines to agree or disagree with the comparison of engines mentioned above. The Jamestown Foundation and Chinese Defense Today both describe the WS-10A as comparable to the Russian-made AL-31 engine used on the Su-27. That in itself is impressive considering their inability to produce any engine worth flying not long ago.
Anyone who knows anything about aircraft engines and/or China's ability to produce them, please comment with your thoughts. Is this a significant landmark representing Chinese technological advancement or just an outdated engine?