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.

Autograph-seeking fans and journalists thronged China's newly minted Olympic sensation, 20-year-old swimmer Fu Yuanhui, at the Beijing airport on Tuesday.

Just days after editors ended publication of China's leading liberal history journal last month, a new edition of the magazine is out again. But the original publishers are calling this a pirate edition — and they're preparing to fight it in court.

The magazine, the Annals of the Chinese Nation, or Yanhuang Chunqiu in Chinese, is seen as the standard bearer of the embattled liberal wing of China's ruling Communist Party. The publication has made bold calls for democratic reforms and questions the party's version of history.

At first glance, it looks like an ordinary gym class at a public school in Yibin, a city of about a million people in southwest China's Sichuan province.

But then you notice that the students are wearing signs: "Nitrate," "Sulfate," "Phosphate." In their game of tag, they chase the classmates they need to start a chemical reaction.

This is how gym and chemistry classes are combined at the Cold Water Well Middle School. Upstairs, in a combined history and math class, students use statistics to find patterns in the rise and fall of nations.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Panchen Lama — the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama — is performing an important ritual that has not taken place in Tibet for half a century, Chinese state media are reporting this week.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In the port town of Tanmen, on China's southernmost province of Hainan Island, I met 35-year-old Wang Zhenzhong. He's done pretty well for himself. He graduated from college in Beijing and he runs his own business, selling handicrafts related to the town's maritime culture. He likes to play the guitar.

Like many folks here, his ancestors were fishermen. But one thing that makes Wang different from his neighbors is that he and his family are in possession of something very ancient and very rare.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Five years ago, the residents of a southern Chinese village drew the world's attention when they chased Communist Party officials out of their hamlet and elected a new leader.

Now, the land disputes that spurred them to action remain unresolved, and the residents of Wukan village are rising up in protest once again after their elected leader was detained on corruption charges Saturday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On a busy Taipei street corner, students in tribal tunics, bare feet and temporary facial tattoos are taking part in an impromptu ceremony.

The students, aboriginals at National Taiwan University, line up and shout out their names and the names of their tribes. Recounting their hardships, some of them weep.

For a long time, says a woman named Yayut, she concealed her identity as an aborigine. "When people heard I was an aborigine, they said, 'You don't look like one,'" she says, sobbing.

Yayut's classmates cry and cheer her on.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Chinese women Rui Cai and Cleo Wu gave birth to twins last month, following a successful in vitro fertilization. It wasn't simple.

Cai took two eggs from Wu, added sperm from a U.S. sperm bank, had them put in her womb at a clinic in Portland, Ore., then returned to China to give birth.

The lesbian couple is one of the first in China known to have used this form of assisted reproduction.

The birth is seen as a sort of milestone in China, which has become a more tolerant place for gay couples over the past nearly four decades.

Chinese health and Internet authorities have launched an investigation into Baidu, the country's largest search engine, following the death of a college student who accused Baidu of misleading him to a fraudulent cancer treatment.

Experts believe the scandal will damage the credibility of Baidu's search results, and its long-term economic prospects.

On Monday, news of the government investigation caused Baidu's stock to tumble by nearly 8 percent on the Nasdaq.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A strict new law governing foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in China may have some groups packing up and heading home if they can't meet the law's requirements or fall afoul of police who will have increased powers to monitor and control them.

The controversial measure was passed into law on Thursday and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017, affecting thousands of foreign NGOs.

For more than a generation, health experts have hailed China's vaccination program as a success in eliminating preventable diseases like polio and tetanus. Advances in the country's public health have benefited from — and enabled — rapid economic growth.

But since last month, a nationwide scandal involving the illegal resale of vaccines has dented public confidence in the program, ignited public anger at the government and added fuel to ongoing small-scale street protests by parents who believed vaccines have injured or sickened their children.

Myanmar reached a major milestone this week, as civilian leaders, including Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, replaced the generals who have been running the Southeast Asian nation, directly or indirectly, for more than a half century.

The outgoing president, U Thein Sein, formally relinquished his office Wednesday to his successor, U Htin Kyaw.

It's not often that the governments of major nations are so concerned about hunting down the authors of anonymous online letters.

But that is what's happening in China, as police have detained and questioned journalists and the families in China of overseas dissidents, in an apparent effort to find out who wrote a letter calling for President Xi Jinping to step down.

International pressure on North Korea has ratcheted up in recent days, as the U.S. imposed new unilateral sanctions and China began taking steps to implement a strict, new United Nations Security Council resolution.

The annual session of China's legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), is an elaborate, theatrical gathering of China's rich, powerful and famous: Here you'll find generals, billionaires and movie stars — even basketball giant Yao Ming.

When he's not running the Shanghai Sharks basketball team, the ex-Houston Rockets center is a deputy to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, or CPPCC — sort of like the legislature's upper house, but without the power to approve bills.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Ren Zhiqiang, 54, is a brash, sharp-tongued Chinese real estate mogul who is sometimes likened to Donald Trump. In recent days, he has become the target of a government campaign to discredit him, becoming the focus of a bitter debate about Communist Party control of media and the limits of free speech.

Five Hong Kong booksellers disappeared and later turned up in police custody on mainland China, and nearly two months later, Chinese authorities have yet to explain how they got there.

Foreign governments and the United Nations have expressed concern about the disappearances. The British government went so far as to assert that one bookseller had been "involuntarily removed" — basically kidnapped — from Hong Kong.

Talking to some Hong Kong residents, you might think their territory was under siege. Their press is censoring itself. Its judiciary is required to be "patriotic." Even their mother tongue, Cantonese, is under assault, some believe, from Mandarin speakers to the north.

Now add academic freedom to that list, as pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps have rushed to take sides in an ongoing battle over leadership of the territory's oldest institution of higher learning, the University of Hong Kong.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Hong Kong's densely packed Causeway Bay district, a red sign with a portrait of Chairman Mao looms over the bustling storefronts and shoppers. The sign indicates that there is coffee, books and Internet on offer inside.

Customers go past a window where travelers can exchange foreign currencies, up a narrow staircase and into a room stacked high with books. The walls are painted red and decked out with 1960s Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and other Mao-era memorabilia. The aroma of coffee and the sound of jazz waft over the book-browsing customers.

After centuries of neglect, the world's largest fortification, the Great Wall of China, has a band of modern-day defenders who are drawing up plans to protect and maintain the vast structure.

They're not a minute too soon: Roughly a third of the wall's 12,000 miles has crumbled to dust, and saving what's left of it may be the world's greatest challenge in cultural preservation.

Qiao Guohua is on the front line of this battle. He lives in the village of Jielingkou, not far from where the eastern end of the Great Wall runs into the Yellow Sea.

Monkeys are clever and cute — or so the conventional wisdom in China has it. And therefore people see the Year of the Monkey, which begins on Feb. 8, as an auspicious time for making babies.

The Year of the Goat, however, which is now coming to an end, has the opposite reputation. "Nine out of 10 babies born in the Year of the Goat are unlucky," goes an old Chinese saying. (While some translations have it as "goat," others render it as "sheep" or "ram.")

Pages