With conditions inside North Korea so desperate, many are willing to risk the border crossing in search of work and food. Lee So-ra, a 51-year-old mother crossed at the end of last month. She told us she saw people dying of hunger just a few weeks ago.
"Right before I came to China I saw a person, sitting outside a public toilet. I said 'Don't sit here go to the entrance of the market, maybe someone passing by will give you a candy or bread.'
"They said they didn't have enough energy. Two days later they died, right there. There are many people like that, so weak they starve to death," says Mrs Lee.
Mrs Lee says she hopes the regime comes to an end. She fears more hardships if Kim John-Unn, who's thought to be 27 years old, takes over. "Everybody is worried about it. We worry about how someone so young, will be able to be our leader, running the country, because he doesn't have the capability, he's a person without experience or skills."
A third woman, Kim Soon-young, who'd crossed to China recently, told us that ordinary North Koreans have been told nothing about Kim Jong-Il's son, even though he may soon be their leader.
"We don't know anything about him. I never even saw a picture of him until I came here to China," Mrs Kim tells me. "We don't know what he looks like or what he's done. All I knew was that he is a three-star general and a new propaganda song came out about him."
Coming to China has, she says, opened her eyes to the way North Koreans are kept isolated, impoverished, starved of information and food, and so controlled by the Kim dynasty.