Anthony Kuhn

International Correspondent Anthony Kuhn official base is Jakarta, Indonesia, where he opened NPR's first bureau in that country in 2010. From there, he has covered Southeast Asia, and the gamut of natural and human diversity stretching from Myanmar to Fiji and Vietnam to Tasmania. During 2013-2014, he is covering Beijing, China, as NPR's Louisa Lim is on fellowship.

Prior to Jakarta, Kuhn spent five years based in Beijing as a NPR foreign correspondent reporting on China and Northeast Asia. In that time Kuhn covered stories including the effect of China's resurgence on rest of the world, diplomacy and the environment, the ancient cultural traditions that still exert a profound influence in today's China, and the people's quest for social justice in a period of rapid modernization and uneven development. His beat also included such diverse topics as popular theater in Japan and the New York Philharmonic's 2008 musical diplomacy tour to Pyongyang, North Korea.

In 2004-2005, Kuhn was based in London for NPR. He covered stories ranging from the 2005 terrorist attacks on London's transport system to the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. In the spring of 2005, he reported from Iraq on the formation of the post-election interim government.

Kuhn began contributing reports to NPR from China in 1996. During that time, he also worked as an accredited freelance reporter with the Los Angeles Times, and as Beijing correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review.

In what felt to him a previous incarnation, Kuhn once lived on Manhattan's Lower East Side and walked down Broadway to work in Chinatown as a social worker. He majored in French literature at Washington University in St. Louis. He gravitated to China in the early 1980s, studying first at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute and later at the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing.

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Asia
4:05 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Is 'Womenomics' The Answer To Japan's Economic Woes?

Lumberjack Yukiko Koyama cuts pine trees on a hillside overlooking Matsumoto City in Nagano prefecture on Japan's central Honshu island. Koyama's employment at a local timber mill is partially subsidized by a government program to get more Japanese women into the workforce.
Yo Nagaya NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:59 pm

Yukiko Koyama kicked around Tokyo for a few years looking for the right job. For a while, she designed costumes for classical ballet dancers. But she longed to work in the great outdoors, and to find a job she could really sink her teeth into.

Two years ago, she found just the right thing for her: sinking a chainsaw's teeth into the pine forests of Matsumoto City in landlocked Nagano prefecture. Forests there on the central island of Honshu have been growing since the end of World War II, and many are in need of weeding.

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Parallels
3:35 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

In China, One Woman's Challenge To The Legal System

Chinese customs officials, like the ones shown here in August at the Lukou International Airport in Nanjing, have broad powers to confiscate items. One woman who had copies of her father's memoir seized has sued the government.
Xie Mingming Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 1:55 am

This year, significant legal reforms have tried to make China's judiciary more accountable, and make it easier for citizens to sue the government.

But those changes may not take effect soon enough to help Chinese citizens who are punished without being told exactly what they did wrong.

One Chinese woman is suing the government for what she says is exactly this predicament.

The case will go to trial even as China is taking unprecedented steps to reform its legal system.

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Asia
5:32 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Pyongyang Releases 2 U.S. Citizens Who Were Held For Months

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 7:34 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
11:58 am
Tue November 4, 2014

The App That Helps The Chinese Masses Mobilize Online

China's WeChat messaging app has a huge audience that allows Chinese to organize online.
Petar Kujundzic Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 5:32 pm

The mobile messaging app WeChat has taken China by storm in the past couple years, swiftly becoming the largest standalone-messaging app, with more than 300 million active monthly users.

It has an ever-growing array of functions, from text and voice messaging to photo sharing. Perhaps most importantly, WeChat users also have the ability to form groups of up to 500 people.

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Asia
4:15 am
Tue October 14, 2014

China's Nomads Have A Foot In Two Very Different Worlds

Zhaxi Cairang (right), a 59-year-old Tibetan nomad, moved to a city in western China 15 years ago as part of a government effort to settle nomads. But Zhaxi says he plans to return to herding yaks next year. His son Cicheng Randing was raised in the city, but his father wants to expose him to traditional nomadic life as well.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 9:46 am

Zhaxi Cairang is trying to give his son a choice of two worlds to live in: the traditional, pastoral world of Tibetan nomads, which he has inhabited for most of his 59 years, or the modern urban lifestyle that most Tibetans experience in today's China.

Zhaxi made the transition himself about 15 years ago, when he left the grasslands and moved into the city of Yushu in western China's Qinghai province. Yushu sits on the eastern end of the Tibetan plateau. More than 95 percent of its residents are ethnic Tibetans.

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The Two-Way
1:04 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Occupy Central: Faces From Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement

Kenneth Chung in the Admiralty section of Hong Kong.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters are maintaining an uneasy vigil Sunday night at three main protest sites, despite authorities' deadline to pull back so that government offices and schools can reopen on Monday.

Demonstrators have defied previous ultimatums by the authorities to clear out, as well as pleas from politicians and university administrators to withdraw for their own safety.

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Asia
3:23 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Hong Kong Protests Offer A Revelation To Mainland Chinese

Pro-democracy protesters chant slogans as they gather next to the central government offices in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Alex Ogle AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 9:03 am

The government of China has described the protests that have gripped Hong Kong for the past five days as illegal and chaotic. Any mention of the demonstrations is quickly erased from the Internet. At the same time, many mainland Chinese, in the territory for business or tourism, are observing the protests with interest and often amazement.

It's not hard to pick out the mainlanders in the crowd. They're usually the ones speaking Mandarin, instead of the dialect most Hong Kong residents speak: Cantonese.

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Parallels
7:20 am
Fri August 8, 2014

China's President Says His Anti-Corruption Drive Is Deadlocked

"The two armies of corruption and anti-corruption are at a stalemate," China's president, Xi Jinping, reportedly told a closed-door Politburo meeting in late June.
Jorge Silva Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 9:42 am

There's been much to-do about China's anti-corruption drive, and the leading example of that effort has been the downfall of a man who was once one of the country's most powerful officials, ex-security czar Zhou Yongkang.

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Flight Delays In China Leave Travelers Feeling Squeezed

Passengers packed the waiting hall Tuesday at Hongqiao Railway Station, which services a terminal at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:43 pm

Air travel in some of eastern China's busiest airports has slowed to a crawl over the past week or so, stranding thousands of travelers and igniting debate about the increasing competition between military and civilian flights for the country's airspace.

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Asia
3:59 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Former High-Ranking Official Under Investigation In China

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 10:53 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Asia
3:09 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Beijing Begins Apparent Corruption Probe Into High-Level Official

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:31 pm

China has begun investigations into one of the country's senior politicians. Zhou Yongkang was a former domestic security chief, and he's suspected of "serious disciplinary violations" — a phrase which usually stands for corruption.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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The Salt
1:27 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Fast-Food Scandal Revives China's Food Safety Anxieties

A U.S. company that supplies meat to some fast-food chains in China has pulled all of its products, some of which were chicken nuggets sold in Hong Kong, made by a Chinese subsidiary.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:39 pm

A U.S. company that supplies meat to some of the world's largest fast-food chains in China has pulled all its products made by a Chinese subsidiary, after reports that it was selling expired products.

The food safety scandal that erupted in China in the last week has also spread overseas, affecting chain restaurants in Japan and Hong Kong, and prompted calls for tighter food safety regulation in China.

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Parallels
7:12 am
Sun July 27, 2014

News Anchor On Losing Side Of China's Anti-Corruption Campaign

China Central Television anchor Rui Chenggang is the latest high-profile person to be arrested in China's massive anti-corruption drive.
Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 11:16 am

Chinese often complain that corruption is endemic in every sector of their society. So it may come as no surprise that a government anti-corruption drive has swept up 25,000 officials in the first half of this year.

The drive's victims include everyone from lowly local functionaries to, this month, a young celebrity news anchor named Rui Chenggang.

Authorities showed up at China Central Television headquarters earlier this month, and took away Rui, the 36-year-old news anchor on CCTV's finance channel, watched by millions of viewers.

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Parallels
12:12 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

After Two Disasters, Can Malaysia Airlines Still Attract Passengers?

Malaysia Airlines had been struggling even before two of its flights were lost this year. Analysts say the national carrier faces either bankruptcy or privatization.
Mohd Rasfan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:36 pm

The year 2014 is well on its way to being Malaysia Airlines' annus horribilis. Flight 17, shot down last week over eastern Ukraine, is the second Boeing 777 the airline has lost in the past five months, after MH370 disappeared, it's believed, somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

But even before the double calamity, Malaysia's national carrier was struggling to adapt to momentous shifts in Asia's aviation industry.

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Asia
3:05 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

In 5 Months, 2 Lost Planes: Malaysians Struggle To Cope

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 6:54 pm

Malaysia is reeling from the loss of a second plane in five months. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports on the reaction from Malaysians in the country's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Asia
5:49 am
Fri July 18, 2014

On Its Way To Kuala Lumpur, Plane Brought Down Over Ukraine

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 7:00 am

Many experts question the decision to fly near the fighting in Ukraine. Some airlines have circumvented the country for weeks. In March, a Malaysia Airlines plane went missing on a flight to Beijing.

Parallels
2:28 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Violence And Other Threats Raise Press Freedom Fears In Hong Kong

Police remove a protester during a pro-democracy rally early on July 2 in Hong Kong. Frustration is growing over the influence of Beijing on the city and its press.
Philippe Lopez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:08 am

On the evening of July 1, just hours after Hong Kong's biggest pro-democracy protests in years, the printing presses of the Ming Pao newspaper — long respected for its editorial independence — suddenly ground to a halt.

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Parallels
3:02 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

After Losing An Only Child, Chinese Parents Face Old Age Alone

A man looks at the painting Better To Have Only One Child at the China National Art Museum in Beijing. More than three decades after China's one-child policy took hold, some bereaved parents are suffering an unintended consequence of the policy: The loss of a child leaves them with no support in their old age.
Wang Zhao AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 6:04 pm

It's been nearly 3 1/2 decades since China's government started limiting most urban families to one child. The family planning policy successfully slowed the nation's population growth, but it has had some unintended consequences.

One is that some parents lose their only children to illness or accidents and end up with no one to care for them in their old age. Now, these parents have gotten together to demand their rights.

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Asia
3:10 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Marchers Take To Streets Of Hong Kong To Protest Eroding Autonomy

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 6:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Asia
2:22 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Clock Is Ticking For Aung San Suu Kyi's Presidential Bid

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a public rally in Yangon, Myanmar, on May 17. Democracy activists joined Suu Kyi to call for an amendment to Myanmar's constitution, a move she says is necessary if next year's general elections are to be free and fair.
Gemunu Amarasinghe AP

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 7:31 am

Time is running out for Myanmar's opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in her bid to become president.

The long-serving political prisoner and democracy activist is now 67. If she wins general elections next year, she could become Asia's most famous politician.

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Asia
3:18 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

In Rift Over Interfaith Ban, A New Fault Line For Burmese Politics

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:50 am

Myanmar's parliament is now considering a bill that would restrict marriages of people from different religions. Buddhist nationalists hope it will protect their religion from the spread of Islam and claim it's a way to prevent coerced conversions, but critics lambaste the proposed law as targeting the country's Muslim minority.

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Asia
3:08 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Chinese Authorities Ensure Tiananmen Anniversary Passes Quietly

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 6:18 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

25 years ago today, these were some of the sounds from Tiananmen Square, as Chinese soldiers used rifles and tanks to end nearly two months of pro-democracy protests.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTS)

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Asia
4:11 am
Wed June 4, 2014

25 Years Later, Tiananmen Square Is A Forbidden Subject In China

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 7:32 am

Immediately following the crackdown, the government began a long-term campaign of suppression. Even today, many believe the government's goal is to erase the historic event from the nation's memory.

Parallels
2:28 am
Wed May 28, 2014

In Buddhist-Majority Myanmar, Muslim Minority Gets Pushed To The Margins

Muslim Rohingya women are pictured at the Thae Chaung camp for internally displaced people in Sittwe, Myanmar, on April 22. The stateless Rohingya in western Myanmar have been confined to the camps since violence erupted with majority Buddhists in 2012. The camps rely on international aid agencies, but still lack adequate food and health care.
Minzayar Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:57 am

Thirteen-year-old Zomir Hussein lives with his family in a simple wooden home in a village outside the city of Sittwe, the capital of western Myanmar's Rakhine state. Not long ago, he accidentally overdosed on medicine he was taking to treat his tuberculosis.

Now he lies on the floor, his hands curled into claws, his eyes staring vacantly. He cries out to his parents for help. His mother cradles him, and for a moment, he seems to smile.

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Parallels
2:45 am
Wed May 14, 2014

China Puts Brass On Trial In Fight Against Military Corruption

Chinese sailors stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier as it travels toward a military base in Hainan province. China has been waging a public crackdown on military corruption, perhaps the largest such campaign in more than six decades of communist rule.
China Stringer Network Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 7:04 am

China's ongoing crackdown on military corruption may be the toughest — or at least best publicized — in more than six decades of communist rule. Some top brass are on trial, and teams of inspectors have fanned in search of graft.

But all of that may seem like a distant light at the end of a long tunnel for former navy captain Tan Linshu. Tan and his wife have lived in a tiny, subterranean room for two years as they search for justice in a case that suggests what the crackdown is up against.

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News
3:04 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Obama Offers Support And Condolences In Somber South Korea

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:15 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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News
3:09 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Obama Raises Curtain On 4-Country East Asia Trip

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. President Obama has arrived in Japan on a weeklong trip that will also include stops in South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. Along with trade talk, President Obama will be trying to reassure leaders that the U.S. will not abandon them. That's important because China is becoming more assertive in disputes with its neighbors.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports on the Obama administration's efforts.

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Asia
7:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

S. Korean Community Waits And Prays For Its Missing Students

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 10:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. For the first time since a ferry capsized and sank off the coast of South Korea Wednesday, divers have begun to recover bodies from inside the sunken vessel. The death toll has passed 50 with more than 250 still missing. Most of the passengers were students from a single high school outside the capital city. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports on the community and how they're coping.

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News
3:07 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Search Continues For Nearly 300 Missing In South Korea Ferry Accident

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 7:06 pm

The search continues for survivors and answers in the South Korean ferry disaster. NPR's Anthony Kuhn offers details on the latest developments.

World
4:10 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Anger Boils Over For Families Of Flight 370 Passengers

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 5:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. It's not often that an airline accident triggers street protests, but that's exactly what happened in the Chinese capital this week. On Monday, Malaysia announced that the flight, MH370, was lost at sea with no survivors. The passengers' families say that there's no evidence of this and many are convinced of a conspiracy.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing on the families' reactions and what it says about Chinese society.

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