Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

William Wei

Second Advisor

Tim Weston

Third Advisor

Vicki Hunter


The world is plagued by the largest refugee crisis since World War II. At this given time, there are more than 51 million displaced people around the world and nearly 35% of them originate from and remain in Asia. Due to the absence of developed regional institutions, refugee crises remain largely a state-to-state issue in Asia, making China (P.R.C.) a key player in addressing these crises. China's geographic location and its robust economic growth has not only made it an ideal haven for refugees, China's growing influence in Asia has also given it an unprecedented opportunity to establish itself as a leader in humanitarian crises. Because of the immense impact that China's refugee policies have on the surrounding region, this study seeks to examine how China formulates its refugee policies and why it adopts certain policies over others in different situations. By examining the driving factors for China's starkly different response to the Vietnamese refugee crisis (1978-1979) and the North Korean refugee crisis (since the 1990s), this study sheds light on China's policy considerations and its implications for the rest of Asia.