China has become Asia's most popular destination for overseas students, said Li Hai, deputy director of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange of China's Ministry of Education, at a press conference last month.
According to Li, China has stepped onto a new stage of two-way student exchanges. A total of 545,000 Chinese students studied overseas in 2016, while 443,000 international students came to China, up 36.2% and 35.1%, respectively.
In addition, the country saw 433,000 overseas returnees in the last year, and they have become a major force that promotes China's education, economy, and culture.
By the end of 2016, China established cooperative partnerships with 188 countries and regions, and signed agreements of mutual recognition of degrees with 47 countries and regions.
The country has also built high-level cultural exchange mechanisms with Russia, the U.S., the U.K., the European Union, France, Indonesia, South Africa, and Germany.
Cultural communication is now one of the three major diplomatic pillars, together with political mutual trust and economic cooperation.
Now, more than 170 countries offer Chinese courses, 67 of which have incorporated Chinese into their national education systems. The number of non-native Chinese learners has reached 100 million worldwide.