Beijing: China will conduct a survey of foreign residents living in the country for the first time as part of its national population census.
The population of foreigners is being incorporated as per the guidelines proposed by the United Nations. The information of those surveyed will be kept confidential, official news agency Xinhua reported.
However, foreigners on short-term business or sight-seeing trips will not be covered by the census beginning November 01.
Some foreigners, however, has expressed their hesitation due to concerns on safety of personal information and possible language barriers.
Jung Jae Hyo, from the Republic of Korea, has been working in China for the past one-and-a-half years.
"It`ll be difficult for my family to communicate with the Chinese government workers as they cannot speak Korean. And how can the census-takers guarantee our information won`t be leaked?" he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
However, a new regulation, which is to take effect in June, clearly states that the information of the surveyed should be kept confidential and anyone who leaks the information will be punished according to law.
Zhou Mianxian, a top statistics bureau official, said census-takers will be accompanied by interpreters while taking the details of foreign residents.
The census will collect data like foreigner`s name, age, gender, nationality, educational attainment, purpose and duration of stay.
The questions in the questionnaire are simpler than those for Chinese citizens and are written in Chinese and English.
China has begun conducting a national population census every 10 years since 1990. The previous five censuses only covered Chinese nationals on the mainland.