This document describes the situation of thousands of North Koreans who have been fleeing their country of origin as a result of severe food shortages that have hit the country since 1994. Their government, however, criminalizes the act of leaving the county without permission. But North Koreans continue to flee in desperation. The vast majority of those who leave without permission go to China where they face human rights violations and an uncertain future. Although China is a State Party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, it is not meeting its international obligations to protect these North Koreans.