SCIO briefing on 7th National Population Census

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China News Service:

China's seventh national population census can be called the largest census project in the world.How was such a large-scale census organized and conducted? Could you summarize some of its features? Thank you.

Li Xiaochao:

Thank you for your interest in China's population census. The 2020 census was the seventh national population census since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and also the world's largest. It was a major national survey on China's conditions after having faced the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year or so, with the concerted efforts of the Chinese people, we have successfully completed the census. The achievements are attributed to the following aspects.

First, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached much importance to the census and had given instructions as to how we should best conduct our work.General Secretary Xi Jinpingand Premier Li Keqiang as well as other Party and state leaders signed up for the enumeration as ordinary citizens. The State Council established the Leading Group of the State Council for the Seventh National Population Census with Vice Premier Han Zheng as its head to coordinate the census. Different localities and departments had worked in synergy and offered support to each other under national centralized leadership, with departments at all levels assuming clear duties and carrying out specific jobs. Approximately 679,00 census agencies were set up at provincial, municipal, county, township, and village levels across China, and more than 7 million census staff were recruited. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached much importance to our work. Different localities and relevant departments made meticulous organization and cooperative advancements on the census. All of these factors guaranteed the success of the 2020 census.

Second, we made meticulous plans, including timelines and road maps for the census. On top of multiple general pilot projects and several specialized pilot projects, and after having solicited opinions from experts and people from various professional circles, we produced an outline for the census as well as seven implementing guidelines. These helped us to specify what, how, and in what order the census should be carried out as well as the tasks and requirements for the census work, which provided the know-how for staff to complete their work.

Third, we enriched the content of the census so that its findings can be more valuable. We collected the respondents' ID numbers for the first time, which provided basic information for cross-checking and verification. We also added more data about senior populations to better understand China's aging population.

Fourth, we adopted new ways and tools to increase the efficiency and quality of our census. We had, for the first time, adopted digital data collection so that respondents could fill out and submit the questionnaire and the system could record their information in real-time. Such a collection method was not used widely but involved a significant amount of data. To improve the administrative documentation and the application of big data, we fully adopted the use of the internet, cloud technologies, cloud services, and cloud applications to complete data processing. We carried out online centralized management for the 7 million-odd census staff so that we could supervise their work in real-time.

Fifth, we made sure that no one individual was double-counted or miscounted. Under certain criteria, we divided our census targets into several groups and made sure that there were no overlapping in each group. We numbered each household within each group and had the census staff collect information at each household. At the same time, we improved the selection, training, and management of the staff. Before their on-site registration, we also cleaned up any illegal hukous (China's household registration system) and conducted a pre-assessment of the conditions to lay a foundation for the work that was to follow.

Sixth, we put a lot of effort into publicity and mobilization, which helped to increase people's initiative to participate in the census. We rolled out publicity plans and arranged publicity work across every stage of the census. We filmed and broadcast promotional videos and public service advertisements and organized publicity activities through various channels and forms to raise people's awareness and enthusiasm for the census. With the slogan --"Population Census, Everyone Counts" taking root, various circles and the public have actively participated in and supported the census. Thank you.

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