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November 5, 2010

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Census off to slow start

CITY census workers are beginning to feel the pressure because of the slow pace and lack of cooperation of some city residents after the nationwide census started on Monday.

So far, less than 30 percent of households in Shanghai have finished registering, according to the Shanghai Statistics Bureau, the census organizer.

"Being turned away is sometimes inevitable," said Xie Yan, a city statistics official.

Xie said one family asked to redo the finished census forms as they were worried that one family member would fail to qualify for a government subsidy because of the information that had been given on the census form.

Census workers will try to catch up over the coming days as registration at each household must be finished by November 10, said statistics officials. Further checks will be done by November 15 as some people may need to be interviewed again.

The process should run more smoothly as census workers and residents get familiar with the census job and forms.

Officials also stated that it is "every person's duty" to submit to the census.

During earlier research work some residents declined to answer questions or simply turned away workers with the excuse that their personal information might be leaked.

Lu Wenjie, an official in a downtown community, said census workers once went to a home more than 20 times because the house owner refused to allow them entry. Workers often work late as they wait for people to return home.

Officials reassured local residents that all information collected through the census will be kept securely and destroyed afterwards to protect people's privacy.


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