China will further boost its cultural strength and competitiveness and enhance its soft power, Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday when delivering the government work report at the ongoing annual session of the country's top legislature.
Over recent years, soft power, a concept invented by Harvard Professor Joseph Nye two decades ago, has become a focal point of China's comprehensive development.
Around the advent of what is popularly known as China's "two sessions," which also include the annual session of the country's top political advisory body, Xinhua reporters carried out a series of interviews around the world to sketch out how Chinese culture is perceived in foreign eyes.
The highlights of the interviews are as follows.
Xinhua: What do you have in mind at the mention of Chinese culture?
"The first thing that comes in my mind when we talk of Chinese culture is Confucius, the Chinese philosopher," Sikula, a Kenyan postgraduate on China-Africa relations, told Xinhua at a Nairobi cafe.
Sikula, who once studied at the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi, said: "I find the thinking of Confucius has always had a huge influence on Chinese society."
"In class, I am fond of quoting some of Confucian thoughts on education, war, relations with other nations and peaceful coexistence, just as I would cite other old sages like Plato and Aristotle," added Sikula.
As for Alessandro Avere, who lives in Milan, Italy, Chinese food pops up first.
"Chinese food is one of the most variegated in the world," said Avere, adding that he is particularly attracted by the diversity in Chinese culture.
Avere said he is also interested in China's natural sceneries. "Nature certainly is very charming. ... Soon or later I will go there," he said.
To Margaret Todd, a staff member of the U.S. County of Los Angeles Public Library, strong familial bond, emphasis on children's education and respect for local culture impress her a lot.
"When I think of Chinese culture, I think of education. They put a lot of attention on the education for their children," said Todd, whose community neighbors are most Chinese.
Also, she noted, Chinese residents "are willing to involved themselves in community volunteer activities ... (and they) value the relationship with each family member."