Beijing Census takers counting China’s more than 1.3 billion people already face a daunting task, and it’s getting harder for the latest once-a-decade update.
After years of reforms that have reduced the government’s once-pervasive involvement in most people’s lives, some Chinese are proving reluctant to give up personal information and harboring suspicions about what the government plans to do with their details.
“Along with China’s development, the people’s awareness of legal, personal and privacy rights has been increasing,” said Ji Lin, executive vice mayor of Beijing whose office is overseeing the census in the capital.
“When we were little, it wasn’t this way. If the police wanted to check hukous (Chinese household registration documents), they would just walk in with barely a knock. You can’t do that anymore,” he said.
Accounting for a population more than four times the size of the United States is set to take place from Nov. 1 to 10.