Objective: There has been no large-scale survey of schizophrenia in China involving both rural and urban areas using standardized assessment tools and diagnostic criteria. This study aimed to determine the lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia and its socio-demographic correlates in Beijing, China. Methods: A total of 5926 subjects were randomly selected in Beijing and interviewed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI 1.0). Basic socio-demographic and clinical data were collected during the interviews. Results: The lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia was 0.49%, and 0.44% and 0.55% for men and women, respectively. Unmarried status, lower monthly income, urban abode and positive family history were associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia; 9.7% of the subjects with lifetime schizophrenia reported a history of suicide attempts. The percentage of subjects with schizophrenia who were receiving treatment and their preference to seek treatment from mental health professionals were 58% and 29%, respectively. Conclusions: National surveys are urgently needed to further explore the prevalence of schizophrenia in China. The low percentage of subjects treated for schizophrenia is a serious public health issue that should be addressed in the near future.