About a dozen North Korean defectors are apparently living in the South Korean Embassy in Beijing as well as the consulates general in Shanghai and Shenyang. One or two North Korean teenagers are said to have been living at the consulate in Shenyang for three years. The defectors spend their day watching TV since they are not allowed to leave the buildings. One defector who spent more than a year in the consulate in Shanghai from 2008 said, "Teenage defectors are under a lot of stress from the long period of confinement and often suffer from depression and insomnia." From the late 1990s to early 2000s, when the mass exodus of North Korean defectors began, Korean consulates and other diplomatic missions were the favored places for them to seek refuge. China allowed them to head to South Korea when they had spent a certain time in diplomatic missions. At one time, there were apparently more than 50 North Koreans being housed at the Embassy in Beijing. But Beijing's approach changed when North Koreans tried to use almost all overseas diplomatic missions in Beijing as refuges. Around the mid-2000s, China began to stop North Koreans hiding out in diplomatic missions in Beijing from heading to Seoul. Experts say this was largely due to protests from Pyongyang. Former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il apparently demanded Beijing deal sternly with the defectors. Activists supporting defectors say Pyongyang began to view them as the biggest threat to the regime after Kim collapsed with a massive stroke in August 2008, and China agreed. As a result, far fewer North Koreans now seek refuge in diplomatic missions. A senior government official said, "There are still no signs that China changing its hard line on North Korean defectors, including children and teens. The problem at the moment is that there is little chance of Beijing changing its stance while the international community blasts it over the issue."