Tales of starvation and death in North Korea
22 September 2010 Last updated at 11:45 BST
North Korea's ruling Workers' Party has announced its first major conference in decades.
It could see the nation's reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il, appoint one of his sons to a key position, paving the way for his eventual succession.
Kim Jong-il has presided over grinding poverty and political repression.
Our correspondent Damian Grammaticas travelled to the border with China to meet North Koreans who have escaped the world's most secretive state.