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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The Salt
1:16 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Journey To Java's 'Tempeh Village': Where Soybean Cakes Are Born

Preparing the soy beans to be fermented
Anthony?

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 6:50 am

For centuries, Asia has been home to sophisticated vegetarian cultures. In recent years, Americans have gradually discovered cooking with meat substitutes like tofu and an Indonesia soybean cake called tempeh.

Tempeh is known for being versatile. There's an almost endless variety of ways to cook it. My favorite is perhaps one of the simplest: Cut it into thin slices, cover it in spices and crushed coriander seeds, and pan-fry it in a little oil until it's golden brown.

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The Two-Way
3:43 am
Sat March 16, 2013

Now A Politician, Aung San Suu Kyi Is The Object Of Protesters

Aung San Suu Kyi (right) faced protesters when she traveled to a village in northern Myanmar on Thursday to discuss a Chinese-backed copper mine project. Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and a member of Parliament, urged protesters to support the project, which was the scene of a violent crackdown last year. She said opposing the project would risk hurting the country's economy.
Soe Than Win AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 11:51 am

Last year, Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was greeted by adoring crowds during triumphant tours of Asia, the U.S. and Europe. She eclipsed President Thein Sein, who remained in Burma, as the country is also known, and managed a series of domestic crises.

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World
3:20 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

After Long Isolation, Myanmar Now Has Suitors

Engineers from China and Myanmar work to bury an oil pipeline outside the Myanmar city of Mandalay. Chinese media reports say the 700-mile-long oil and gas pipelines will be completed in May.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

For decades, Myanmar was isolated diplomatically, an economic backwater that seemed almost frozen in time amid a Southeast Asian region that was modernizing at a rapid pace.

But the political reforms under way in Myanmar, also known as Burma, are redefining its place in the world. President Obama's visit in November was a sign of the dramatic turnaround in relations with the United States.

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Asia
1:39 am
Thu February 21, 2013

An Indonesian Extremist Trades Rifle For Spatula

Convicted ex-terrorist Mahmudi Haryono recounts his experiences while sitting at a table at the restaurant where he works in Semarang, Indonesia. The restaurant is one of three founded by social entrepreneur and reformed radical Noor Huda Ismail, to help ex-jihadis in Indonesia reintegrate into society.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:02 am

Tucked away in a back street of Semarang, a city in Indonesia's Central Java province, is a tiny, four-table restaurant. In the cramped kitchen, Mahmudi Haryono whips up a plate of ribs — lunch for two customers.

He brings it out and serves it to two Indonesian soldiers in olive drab uniforms.

Haryono is smiling and cool as a cucumber. But he acknowledges that after getting out of jail a few years ago, serving men in uniform set butterflies aflutter in his stomach.

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Asia
2:35 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

In Myanmar, A Hunt For Fabled Cache Of Buried WWII Spitfires

A crowd surrounds a British Spitfire and an Auster in the courtyard of the Civic Hall in Rangoon, Burma, on April 3, 1946.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 11:15 pm

For the past few weeks a team of scientists, archaeologists and documentary makers has been digging at Yangon's international airport in Myanmar, also known as Burma. They are searching for a legendary trove of Spitfire fighter planes, said to have been buried in Burma in the waning days of World War II.

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Asia
11:39 am
Fri January 4, 2013

South Korea Prepares The Young For A Rapidly Aging Population

South Korean men play games at a downtown park in Seoul on Nov. 1. Recent data suggest that South Korea is now the fastest-aging country on Earth.
Kim Jae-Hwan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:43 am

At a clean and sunny community center in Seoul, the South Korean capital, senior citizens make clay models of their own faces in an arts class. Some of the faces are vivid and lifelike. Others are expressionless and indistinct. The project is intended to help the seniors remember what they look like.

This is the Gangseo District Center for Dementia. Since 2006, Seoul has opened a dementia center in each of the city's 25 urban districts.

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Asia
8:32 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Jakarta's New Governor Seen As A Rising Star

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo fields reporters' questions after meeting with residents of a Jakarta slum. Recent polls say Widodo is currently the most popular choice for Indonesia's president in 2014.
Yosef Riadi for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

Residents give a boisterous welcome to Jakarta's newly elected governor, Joko Widodo, when he shows up for a town meeting with the residents of a Jakarta slum where residents' shacks overlook the muddy, garbage-strewn waters of the Ciliwung River.

The governor's administration plans to fix chronic flooding here by dredging the river and moving residents into subsidized apartments.

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Asia
3:28 am
Thu December 20, 2012

South Korea's New Leader Promises Moderate Path

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For the first time in its history, South Korea has chosen a woman as its leader. Park Geun-hye is promising reconciliation with her domestic opponents and dialogue with North Korea. She captured 52 percent of the vote in an election yesterday. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul.

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Asia
2:37 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

South Korea Elects First Female President

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:43 pm

South Korea will have its first woman president with the election of Park Geun-hye after a very tight election. With most of the votes counted, Park was elected with a small majority over her liberal opponent. Park's father was the country's military dictator for 18 years.

Asia
2:56 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Female Leader May Not Be Enough To Change Male-Dominated South Korea

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:16 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

South Korea holds a presidential election tomorrow. And, for the first time there, public opinion polls favor a woman. Park Geun-hye is promising more support for single parents and a push to get more Korean women into the workforce. Still, even if she wins, no one is expecting any radical changes to the traditional male-dominated Korean society.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul.

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Asia
1:22 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Daughter Of A Dictator Favored In S. Korean Election

South Korean presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, who appears slightly favored in Wednesday's election, is the daughter of a military dictator who ran the country for nearly two decades. She would be South Korea's first female president.
Jung Yeon-Je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 4:07 am

Her presidential campaign rallies present blaring pop music and dancing supporters, but Park Geun-hye's campaign involves managing some tricky legacies.

Her father, Park Chung-hee, was a military dictator who ran the country from the time he carried out a 1961 military coup until his assassination in 1979. His memory still stirs mixed emotions among South Koreans.

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Asia
3:27 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

South Koreans Wary After Rocket Launch From North

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:29 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

North Korea's missile launch comes at a sensitive time for South Korea, which will hold national elections in a week. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Seoul now to discuss how the launch is affecting politics on the Korean Peninsula. And Anthony, have we heard any more news out of North Korea about how this success is being received by people there?

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Middle East
2:29 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Israel, Christians Negotiate The Price Of Holy Water

Patriarch Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem (center), splashes holy water toward worshippers after the washing of the feet ceremony in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 2009, during Easter celebrations. A crisis was narrowly averted recently when the church's $2.3 million water bill was waived.
Gali Tibbon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:13 am

One of the holiest sites in Christendom has also been one of the most contested. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lies on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified and buried.

Multiple Christian denominations share the church uneasily, and clerics sometimes come to blows over the most minor of disputes. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox all have a presence in the church.

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The Salt
12:34 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Palestinian Olive Harvest Turns Bitter As Economy Sputters

Palestinian women harvest olive trees near the occupied West Bank village of Deir Samet near the town of Hebron.
Hazem Bader AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:12 am

Across the West Bank, olive harvesting season is drawing to a close once again. But this year, the usually joyous occasion has become grimly purposeful because the Palestinian economy, according to some economists, is being held hostage to politics, and is on the verge of collapse.

In the West Bank village of Deir Ibzie, Amal Karajeh and her husband, Basem, comb through the leaves and branches of an olive tree in their front yard.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Some Restaurants In Israel Declare A Kosher Rebellion

Israelis eat at a kosher McDonald's restaurant in Tel Aviv.
David Silverman Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:41 am

The Carousela cafe in West Jerusalem is one of a handful of restaurants and cafes in Israel staging a bit of a rebellion by defying Jewish religious authorities who claim they are the only ones who can certify restaurants as kosher, or in compliance with Jewish dietary laws.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Arafat's Body Exhumed In Poisoning Investigation

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:37 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Middle East
2:48 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Gaza Holds Funerals For Those Killed In Air Raids

Osama Qurtom and his son Mahmoud at their home in Gaza.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 6:18 pm

Mahmoud Qurtom, 7, can often be found playing with his brothers and sisters, barefoot in the sand by his home's doorway in Gaza. He speaks only a word or two at a time, but smiles a lot. He explains why his right arm is in a sling.

"I was playing in the doorway," he says, "And then I ran away from the rockets."

Mahmoud's sisters brought him to their father, Osama Qurtom, who looked at him and saw nothing wrong. Then he noticed blood coming from a wound under the boy's arm, where a piece of rocket shrapnel had entered, fractured a rib and then lodged in his lung.

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Middle East
3:20 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Gaza Conflict Unites Some Palestinians Behind Hamas

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 8:01 am

Transcript

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: I'm Anthony Kuhn in Gaza City. Just before the cease fire took effect, the streets were silent and deserted. War-weary Gazans know that this is the time the combatants take their parting shots just before they let their guns go silent. At the Al-Sheefa Hospital(ph), Dr. Ashraf al-Kidrah(ph), a health ministry spokesman, says that the news of the cease fire brings forth mixed emotions.

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Middle East
3:23 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Gaza Strip Crisis Unites Palestinian Factions

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:52 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

For more on the politics within the Palestinian territories, we turn now to NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Gaza. He reports that the current conflict has helped unite Palestine's various factions and strengthened Hamas' domestic political position.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: A video on the Internet shows a concealed metal trapdoor in the ground opening automatically. On the underside of the door are missile tubes and the flag of the Islamic Jihad movement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROCKETS LAUNCHING)

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Middle East
2:49 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Violence In Gaza Strip Intensifies

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The day had started with more intense air attacks between Israel and the militant Hamas rulers of Gaza. Overnight air raids pushed the Palestinian death toll to more than 90, with more than 700 wounded. The numbers on the Israeli side are dramatically lower, with three dead so far.

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Israeli-Palestinian Coverage
2:54 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Israel, Hamas Escalate Tit-For-Tat Strikes

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 9:55 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with new fighting in an old conflict. Israeli war planes struck targets across the Gaza Strip today, while Hamas militants and their allies fired rockets at several Israeli towns. One rocket landed on the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv. Three Israeli civilians were killed in one attack and at least 19 Palestinians are known to have been killed in Gaza, with many more injured.

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Middle East
3:13 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Deadly Violence Escalates In Gaza Strip

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:21 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Early today, Israel resumed its attacks on Gaza. The Israeli action is in response to rocket strikes by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

WERTHEIMER: Yesterday, the top military commander of Hamas was killed in an airstrike by Israel's defense forces. This is the heaviest fighting in the Palestinian territory, in years. Joining us now, from Gaza City, is NPR's Anthony Kuhn. Good morning, Anthony.

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Israeli-Palestinian Coverage
3:29 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Israeli Forces Kill Hamas Leader In Gaza Attack

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:15 pm

Israel launched a new wave of air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The commander of Hamas' military wing was among the first casualties.

Middle East
2:31 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Syria's Civil Conflict Could Soon Involve Israel

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:12 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

We begin this hour with the conflict in Syria. There are both military and diplomatic developments to report. First, cross-border fire between Syrian and Israeli forces. Israel's military says it hit back today at a Syrian army mortar unit that had launched a round into Israeli-held territory in the Golan Heights. And Israel says it's ready to escalate its response if necessary.

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Middle East
5:55 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Congratulates Obama

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 6:33 am

Israel is the United State's closest ally in the Middle East, and home to a large number of overseas American voters. Israelis have been debating which candidate, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, would do more to ensure their country's security.

Asia
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Muslim And Buddhist Fighting In Myanmar Kills 67

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has won praise for its unexpected transformation from military dictatorship to civilian rule. But that progress has been overshadowed this week. Fighting among Muslims and Buddhists in the west of the country has killed at least 67 people.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

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Asia
12:24 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Cambodia Vs. Sotheby's In A Battle Over Antiquities

The United States and Cambodia are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over this 1,000-year-old statue of the Hindu warrior Duryodhana that may have been looted from the Cambodian temple complex at Koh Ker.
Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:18 am

The governments of Cambodia and the United States are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over a thousand-year-old statue. The two governments say the statue was looted from a temple of the ancient Khmer empire. Sotheby's says this can't be proved, and a court in New York will decide on the matter soon.

The case could affect how collectors and museums acquire artifacts, and how governments recover lost national treasures.

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Asia
5:30 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

King Sihanouk, An Artist And Architect Of Cambodia

Cambodia's beloved "King Father" Norodom Sihanouk led the country from French colonial rule to independence, through the Vietnam War and the terror of the Khmer Rouge. He died at age 89 of a heart attack Monday in Beijing.
Xinhua Landov

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 3:37 pm

Cambodia's former King Norodom Sihanouk dominated his country's politics through more than a half century of foreign invasion, genocide and civil war.

The monarch of the small Southeast Asian country, who often felt himself better suited to art than to statecraft, died of a heart attack Monday in Beijing, where he was receiving medical treatment. He as 89.

"The King Father," as Sihanouk was known in Cambodia, spent many years in exile in the Chinese capital, beginning in 1970.

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Asia
3:22 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Cambodian Court Case Stokes Fear Of Crackdown

Supporters of Cambodian journalist Mam Sonando protest outside a Phnom Penh courthouse on Monday, when judges sentenced him to 20 years in jail for leading an alleged secession movement. Critics say the pro-democracy activist's case was politically motivated.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 4:20 pm

A court in Cambodia has convicted a prominent journalist and pro-democracy activist on charges of convincing villagers in eastern Cambodia to rise up and declare independence from the country. Civic groups say the case is part of a worrying trend of government efforts to stifle freedom of expression, and attempts to take land away from farmers.

Hundreds of supporters vented their fury outside the courthouse Monday as judges sentenced Mam Sonando to 20 years in jail. Speaking before the verdict, his wife, Dinn Phanara, says the case was politically motivated.

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Asia
2:41 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

In Singapore, The Voices Of Dissent Grow Louder

Former political detainees, Michael Fernandez (left), 72, and Tan Jing Quee (second from right), 66, participate in a forum in Singapore. A notebook used by Fernandez to scribble notes while he was jailed is projected behind them at the event held in 2006. Fernandez and Tan are among the hundreds of Singaporeans detained by the government without trial for, they say, political reasons.
Wong Maye-e AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 3:11 pm

After decades of enforced silence, Singaporeans who spent years in jail without charges or trial are shattering a political taboo by speaking out about their detention — and the colonial-era security laws that made it possible.

The affluent trading hub — known for its solid rule of law — still allows the government to detain citizens indefinitely.

But people who say that the laws were used to abuse them and silence their dissenting voices are now talking — which many see as a foreshadowing of bigger political changes for Southeast Asia's wealthiest nation.

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