After fleeing famine in North Korea, Kim Cheol Ok laid low in China for decades — until a doomed run for freedom got her sent back to her repressive homeland, her family says.

She is among hundreds of North Koreans repatriated by China in recent months, according to rights groups, which say they face imprisonment, torture and even execution back home.

Kim Cheol Ok's family took the rare and risky decision of publicizing her case after she vanished last year.