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Census privacy guaranteed for foreigners

07-14-2010 14:05 BJT

BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhaunet) -- The Chinese government has pledged to protect the privacy of people from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreigners living and working on the mainland during the country's sixth national census.

The latest census, starting Nov 1, will for the first time include foreigners and non-mainland residents who are living on the mainland.

"Income and religion will not be included in the questionnaire," Zhang Weimin, deputy chief of the National Bureau of Statistics, told reporters Tuesday in Beijing.

"All census enumerators will take an oath of confidentiality, and any information provided in the questionnaire cannot be used as evidence in administrative actions against the interviewees," he said.

The questionnaire for non-mainland residents is much shorter than for mainland residents - there are only eight questions, including "purpose for staying on the Chinese mainland" and "educational attainment".

"An increasing number of foreigners are participating in China's economic life and share local public services, so the census needs their information for appropriate policy making," Zhang said.

A national census counting foreigners and non-mainland residents living and working in the country is an "internationally accepted practice," he said.

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