UNHCR opened its China office in 1980 in response to the influx of Vietnamese refugees that followed the Sino-Vietnamese conflict of 1978-1979.
In 1997, the UNHCR office in Beijing started covering Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao.
China ratified the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, in September 1982. It has since been an active participant in the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme, a panel of countries advising UNHCR and approving its budget.
Despite being a party to both the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol, China has no domestic law in place to process asylum seekers. UNHCR is therefore invited by China to provide technical assistance through provision of Refugee Status Determination (RSD) and the search for durable solutions for refugees, from their offices in Beijing.
Refugees recognized as such by UNHCR are permitted to remain temporarily in China while the UNHCR finds a sustainable solution for them.