Government and Policy

Beijing census to begin in late 2010

Updated: 2010-06-10 11:12
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BEIJING - People whose households are registered in Beijing who have violated family planning policies and had more babies than allowed can have a child's household registered in the capital without penalty when Beijing conducts its sixth census starting this November.

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People with three kinds of certificates - ex-prisoners, the demobilized and the relocated - who are in line with household registration policies in Beijing, can also settle down in the capital during the census, the municipal government said on Wednesday.

The sixth nationwide population census will start in November and finish in June 2012.

Gu Yanzhou, deputy director of the Beijing Statistic Bureau, said local residents do not need to worry about the census revealing their personal information, as all the information can be used only for the population census.

"For instance, people who violated family planning policies can apply for household registration by taking the opportunities of the census," he said. "Also, we will not reveal such information to family planning departments to be the basis for fines," he said.

In China, excess births cannot be registered unless the parents received corresponding punishments, such as a fine.

But it has become a common practice to register the babies' households while the country conducts a massive census every 10 years, insiders said.

Duan Chengrong, a demographics professor with Renmin University of China, said many people don't have their household registered for a number of reasons.

"It's common to see that some parents have not registered the birth of their babies born even two years ago. Such hidden births will make the census difficult and fail to offer real population figures," he said.

Duan said the most important aim of the population census is to investigate the real local population for policy makers.

"Therefore, all the personal information will be kept secret to encourage people to tell the truth," he added.

China had its first population census in 1953 and since the fourth census in 1990, a census is always conducted every decade.

Official figures released on Wednesday show that by the end of 2009, 17.55 million permanent residents populate Beijing, among which 5.09 million people come from other areas.

In addition, expats living in Beijing will be included in the local population census, but foreigners who come to visit for a short time will not be included, according to the National Population Census Ordinance that took effect on June 1.

"It is a good thing basically, because there are so many people moving and we also want to know about expats in the city," said Sharon White, a woman who has been in Beijing for six years and teaches English at an international school.