Run by a missionary foster couple, the home where (orphan) Yeon Ah lives takes in ethnic Korean children or those from mixed Chinese-Korean background, some of whom are the stateless offspring of North Korean defector women and local Chinese men.
Others are the children of defectors who were born in North Korea and crossed the border with their parents, only to lose touch with them in China…Aid workers estimate that there are about 2,000 “defector orphans” in China, with a possible total of 30,000 North Korean defectors living in hiding, mostly driven over the border to look for food and work.
“Stateless orphans,” on the other hand, are born out of relationships between North Korean women and Chinese men, with their mothers subsequently deported to North Korea… (they) are currently believed to number 10,000-20,000, and are unable to get an education because they lack official Chinese papers. Late registration of children without papers costs 5,000 yuan (U.S. $750), around three times the monthly salary of the average Chinese person, aid workers said.
Aid groups from the United States, South Korea, and other countries pay for some children to be registered and attend kindergarten and schools for ethnic Korean-Chinese children.