The sixth China national population census is underway and in Qingdao we will see a number of volunteers knocking on doors to check who lives behind them. All foreigners (and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) will be counted for the first time, so don’t be surprised when somebody knocks on your door soon. And in true Chinese fashion, a whole army of 6 million volunteers are swarming out, supported by the usual TV announcements and advertisements. Some of you might have also noticed the quiet kitschy announcement on display on TVs in elevators around the city (the one with the model family). Chinese residents are asked to give information on 18 questions and a random 10% of the residents will be picked to answer a 45 question survey. Foreigners don’t have to go through all this trouble and just have to answer a few questions. Those questions mainly deal with country of origin, education level, reason of stay and residence in China.
Why does China do this? They do it every 10 years and this time the government especially wants to learn how much the population has changed and where people are living now. For that reason they now go to where the people actually live and not where the official Hukou (Household Registration) is. The government also hopes to find out more about the growth of the cities and the number of workers building these cities. Of course not everybody is happy about this and not everybody wants to share information or invite people in. Migrant workers without proper papers, mothers of several children or foreigners without proper work visas come to mind. There’s no penalty for not opening the door and apparently the census takers have no way to check if the information you supply is true or false. Post your experience in the comment section. Have you already been visited? Or do you plan not to be home when they knock?
For all you who are curious about the result – you need to be patient – they will be published in April of next year.