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China to count foreigners in next census

world Updated: May 29, 2010 13:20 IST

Foreigners domiciled in China will be surveyed for the first time in the national census beginning Nov 1.

The national census aims to survey "each natural person" and foreign residents living in China, the Regulation on National Population Census said in a statement released on Friday. However, foreigners staying in various parts of the country for short-term business or tourism purposes will not be covered in the census.

The statement said that the population of foreigners is being incorporated as per the guidelines proposed by the United Nations and the information of those surveyed will be kept confidential, Xinhua reported.

Zhou Mianxian, deputy director of the statistics bureau of Shandong's Laixi City, said that his department is working on detailed plans to hire interpreters who will assist the census officials in collecting information about the foreign nationals.

China has been conducting census every ten years since 1990. The previous censuses covered only Chinese nationals. "The government should collect the information about legally residing foreigners in China, so that they will have a good knowledge about who is living in this country. This is what the American government does," said Victoria Briton, an American teacher in Qingdao University in east China's Shandong province.

The last census in the world's most populous country, a decade ago, found there were 1.2 billion people in China.