The basic rights and freedoms of the twenty million refugees in the world are protected by the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. This convention ensures the basic human rights of vulnerable persons and that refugees will not be returned involuntarily to a country where they face persecution. However, violations of the basic human rights are still being denied to refugees in every region of the world. Although the People's Republic of China is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, it has no domestic law on refugee protection. It allows the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to conduct refugee status and it is in the process of drafting its own regulation on refugees. The U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) visited Hong Kong and the mainland in China to assess the status of the Vietnamese refugees. The Chinese government has made strenuous efforts to address the placement need for the refuges and has met the requirements set by the UNHCR.
The People's Republic of China is a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and works with other Asian nations to solve disputes and determine what is best for their area.
Currently there are 292,000 refugees from Vietnam and 50,000 refugees from North Korea in China. The People's Republic of China gives the refugees a living status equal to that of the local Chinese people. Eighty-five percent of all refugees have achieved economic independence.
The People's Republic of China recognizes that it has not yet granted citizenship to the refugees. Also, China is in the process of ending any segregation that may exist between ethic Chinese and ethnic Vietnamese refugees.
The People's Republic of China has contributed shelter materials and medicines worth over two million Yuan ($242,000) to the UNHCR for drought infected people inside Afghanistan.