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.

Pages

News
2:03 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Politics And Power Complicate The Airliner Search

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin this hour with the politics of a vanishing airliner. The search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 now covers well over 2 million square miles. Twenty-six countries are still involved, 10 days after the plane's disappearance. In a few moments, we'll hear from the U.S. Navy about their efforts.

Read more
Asia
5:51 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Search For Malaysian Jet Turns Its Focus To The Crew

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 9:32 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Malaysia is reaching out to dozens of countries as it expands the search for an airliner that went missing almost nine days ago. This comes after new data indicates that the plane flew for hours after it last made contact with civilian radar. But which direction it went after that point remains a mystery.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing that despite evidence that the plane was intentionally diverted, Malaysian authorities have not said the plane was hijacked.

Read more
Asia
2:32 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Three Years From Meltdown, Japanese Nuclear Plant Still Struggles

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:51 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Three years ago today, a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed thousands of people. It also triggered the meltdown of reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The cleanup is ongoing and has been problematic, with power failures and leaks of contaminated water. And the technical difficulties involved in closing the facility are compounded by serious labor issues.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

Read more
Asia
3:02 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Search Goes On For Jetliner That Mysteriously Disappeared

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 am

Authorities continue to piece together scant clues as to why a Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared over the weekend. The plane was headed from Malaysia to China with 239 people aboard.

Asia
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight Vanishes With 239 On Board

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

A Malaysian Airlines flight went off the radar on its flight from Kuala Lampur to Beijing with 239 people on board. Three Americans were on board, including an infant.

Asia
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Chinese Superstar Lifts Ivory Cause Onto His Shoulders

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Chinese leaders and lawmakers are huddled in Beijing for the annual session of parliament, and one man towers above the rest. That's because he's seven feet, six inches tall. The former Houston Rocket center Yao Ming is one of China's best-known athletes. He's also in his second year as a member of China's nominal Upper House of Parliament.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn has this report from Beijing on the former basketball star's foray into law and politics.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Parallels
3:24 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Idle No More: Japan Plans To Restart Closed Nuclear Reactors

Japan's draft of a new energy proposal calls for opening nuclear power plants that were shut down after the nuclear disaster in 2011.
Greg Webb/IAEA AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:57 pm

In the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant three years ago, Japan's government decided to phase out nuclear power. Other governments, notably Germany's, followed Japan's lead.

But Wednesday, Tokyo reversed course. It issued a draft energy plan that includes restarting idled nuclear reactors. Now, the energy issue looms large over Japan's efforts to stage a comeback from two decades of economic stagnation.

Read more
Asia
3:06 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Touring Reactor No. 4 At Tsunami-Damaged Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:30 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

It has been nearly three years since a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed nearly 20,000 people. Another victim: the Fukushima nuclear power plant. There was a meltdown at three reactors there. Cleaning up and shutting down that plant involves huge challenges and risks that are expected to last for decades.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn recently went inside one of the damaged plant's nuclear reactors, and he filed this report.

Read more
Commentary
7:54 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Three Years Later, A Harrowing Visit To Fukushima

A Tokyo Electric Power Company official (center) stands with journalists at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan on Nov. 7. Cleanup efforts at the plant remain ongoing.
Kimimasa Mayama AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 8:46 pm

On Thursday night, I stayed at a motel in the town of Hirono, just outside a restricted zone in Fukushima Prefecture. The motel's residents were all men, all apparently working on the cleanup of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down and a fourth caught on fire after a quake and tsunami in 2011.

I was told that, except for a few elderly residents, most of Hirono's inhabitants had left for other places.

Read more
Asia
1:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Chinese Flock To The Countryside For A More Authentic New Year

Chinese blacksmiths in Nuanquan (Warm Spring) Town perform a folk custom called "making trees and flowers." They throw ladles of molten iron onto a wall, creating showers of sparks. The centuries-old custom originated with blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks. In recent years, urban tourists have flocked to this once obscure town over the Chinese New Year holiday to enjoy local folk customs.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 10:35 am

China goes back to work Friday after a weeklong holiday marking the Year of the Horse. Traditionally, celebrations continue through the first month of the Lunar New Year.

As in years past, some 800 million viewers tuned in this year to the state TV New Year's gala program to watch Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, French actress and singer Sophie Marceau, and other entertainers.

Read more
Parallels
9:03 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter

Red Guards — high school and university students — wave copies of Chairman Mao Zedong's Little Red Book during a parade in June 1966 in Beijing's streets at the beginning of China's Cultural Revolution. More than 1 million people are believed to have died during the decade-long upheaval.
Jean Vincent AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

For most of the past half century, China has avoided a full accounting for one of the darkest chapters of its recent history: the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

During that time, Chairman Mao Zedong's shock troops — Communist youth known as Red Guards — persecuted, tortured or even killed millions of Chinese, supposed "class enemies."

Now, some Red Guards have issued public apologies to their victims, a rare example of the ruling party allowing public discussion of its historic mistakes.

Read more
Asia
10:03 am
Sun January 26, 2014

A Crusader Against Corruption, Chinese Activist Sentenced To Jail

At a Beijing Courthouse on Sunday, activist Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to four years in prison.
Goh Chai Hin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 10:47 am

China's government has recently jailed officials and issued a slew of new rules to curb corruption, but it's apparently not an effort that independent citizens groups are welcome to join.

On Sunday, a Chinese court sentenced Xu Zhiyong, a leading proponent of civil society, to four years in jail. Police have also arrested around a dozen other members of his group, called the New Citizens' Movement.

Read more
Parallels
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

An Execution In North Korea Has A Chilling Effect In China

The Chinese and North Korean flags are seen attached to a railing as trucks carrying Chinese-made goods cross into North Korea on the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge at the Chinese border town of Dandong on Dec. 18, 2013. Ties between the two longtime allies are strained after the execution of the North Korean official in charge of economic relations with China.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:48 pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shocked the world last month when he accused his uncle and mentor of treason and had Jang Song Thaek executed.

The consequences of that purge are reaching beyond North Korea's border. Jang had been in charge of trade with China, and his death has had a chilling effect on ties with North Korea's neighbor and longtime ally.

Read more
Asia
2:41 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Lure Of China's Gray Economy Reaches Rich And Poor

Chinese 100 yuan bank notes being counted at a bank in Huaibei, in eastern China's Anhui province, in 2013. Undeclared income — sometimes the proceeds of corruption, often just of unclear provenance — is estimated to make up a staggering 12 percent of China's GDP.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 6:27 pm

The income gap is growing dramatically in China and the rich are getting exponentially richer — the richest 10 percent of China's population are more than three times wealthier than the official figures.

Much of that undeclared wealth is what Chinese people call "gray income," including proceeds from corruption and other ethically "gray" areas of the economy.

Living on the margins of the "gray economy" are people like migrant laborer Wang Haichuan. He rents a room far below street level in a dark, former air-raid shelter inhabited by other migrants.

Read more
Asia
3:24 am
Wed November 27, 2013

China, Japan Ramp Up Airspace Dispute

China announced over the weekend that it had expanded an air-defense zone to cover islands that are claimed by both it and Japan. The U.S., Japan and others said they wouldn't recognize that new zone. The U.S. has since flown two bomber jets through the space without notifying China.

Parallels
10:17 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Filipino Priest Suffers With His Flock Amid Typhoon's Ruins

A makeshift headstone in the mass grave outside of San Joaquin Parish in the province of Leyte, Philippines. The Catholic parish has lost almost two-thirds of its congregation after Typhoon Haiyan swept through the area.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:58 am

Three young men dig a grave in a churchyard in San Joaquin Parish, a collection of about a dozen barrios outside Tacloban, the Philippine provincial capital ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan two weeks ago.

They roll an unidentified body wrapped only in blue plastic sheeting up to the grave on a squeaky trolley.

They drag the body into the pit, which is too small for it. The soft, sandy soil falls from their shovels, and in a minute, the crumpled blue figure disappears under the earth.

Read more
NPR Story
3:01 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Old Political Feud In Philippines Fuels Rage Over Typhoon Response

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:21 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

While international relief efforts in the Philippines are in high gear, efforts by the Philippine government have been hampered. There are bitter rivalries among the country's political clans. And two major political families - including that of the president - are sparring over the response to the disaster. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has that story.

Read more
Asia
3:52 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

U.S. Ramps Up Aid As Naval Carrier Arrives In Philippines

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:07 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to the Philippines, where hundreds of thousands of survivors of last week's typhoon wait for help. Many have seen little or no aid. Government health officials there said people are living on coconut juice. U.S. efforts moved into high gear with the arrival of the aircraft carrier the USS George Washington and its support ships. NPR's Anthony Kuhn flew out to the carrier today and joins us now from Tacloban, one of the areas hardest hit.

Read more
Asia
3:15 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Tacloban Begins To Bury The Dead As Aid Starts Coming In

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Nearly a week after a devastating typhoon slammed into the Philippines, the scale of the crisis is staggering. Millions of people across dozens of islands need help; that includes food, shelter and clean water. It also means help burying the dead. Some 2,000 people in the city of Tacloban are known to have died in the storm. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports on what's being done about their bodies.

Read more
Asia
3:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Typhoon Victims Struggle To Survive As Aid Is Slow To Arrive

Soldiers hold back people who are waiting to board a military aircraft in Tacloban. While the government, international aid groups and foreign militaries have rushed to the affected area, they are having trouble getting to the victims because of blocked roads, the U.S. commander on the scene told NPR early Wednesday.
Edgar Su Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 9:10 pm

Despair and criticisms are mounting in the Philippines as the delays stretch on and residents along the country's eastern seaboard struggle to survive without food or clean water.

According to one local government estimate, just 1 in 5 victims of Typhoon Haiyan has received any assistance.

On Wednesday, the U.S. military expanded its assistance to around-the-clock operations. U.S. Marine Osprey planes joined the procession of mostly military aircraft delivering aid workers and supplies to the devastated city of Tacloban.

Read more
Asia
3:31 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

At Tacloban Airport, Aid Workers Arrive As Residents Try To Leave

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 3:56 pm

The town of Tacloban on the island of Leyte in the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. The scene at the airport there was chaotic as the Philippine and U.S. military delivered food and aid workers and residents rushed to board planes headed back to less-damaged Manila .

Asia
2:51 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Devastation, Looting In The Philippines After Deadly Typhoon

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish. And we begin this hour in the Philippines, where thousands of people are feared dead in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. In the city of Tacloban, utter devastation; cars tossed, the bodies of the dead yet to be buried and survivors clamoring for food and water.

Read more
Animals
4:21 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

What's In A (Panda Cub's) Name?

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Election Day has come and gone, but your vote can still make a difference. That is in choosing a name for a new giant panda cub. The National Zoo here in Washington has put forth five possible names for the female cub born this summer. You can vote on the Smithsonian National Zoo's website.

And we want to make sure you have everything you need to make an informed decision, so we've called up our Beijing correspondent Anthony Kuhn for some help understanding the choices. Anthony, ni hao.

Read more
Parallels
10:39 am
Mon November 4, 2013

China Sets Ambitious Agenda In 'Asian Space Race'

Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping aboard the Tiangong-1 space module in June. China is leading what some see as a space race among Asian countries: It has worked on a lunar rover, a space station and an unmanned mission to Mars.
Wang Yongzhuo Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 6:57 pm

India's launch Tuesday of a satellite bound for Mars is the latest milestone in a space race among Asian nations. China, though, is still seen as the leader. A decade ago, China became the third nation to put up a manned spacecraft; it has worked on a lunar rover, a space station as well as its own unmanned mission to Mars.

Read more
Asia
2:49 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Tienanmen Square Car Crash Leads To Questions And Censorship

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:57 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Police in Beijing are investigating the cause of a fiery car crash yesterday in the heart of the Chinese capital. A car plowed into a crowd of people near the gates at the north end of Tiananmen Square. It's not yet clear if this was an accident or an intentional attack. Five people died and 38 were injured.

Read more
NPR Story
3:24 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Before Sherlock: An Ancient Chinese Sleuth's Enduring Appeal

Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's latest film, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, just hit cinemas in Asia.
Sam Yeh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:19 am

The sleuthing exploits of Judge Dee, a character based on a 7th-century Chinese official, are gripping new audiences as new generations of writers, movie directors and storytellers tell his tale and build on his legend.

Judge Dee was cracking tough cases for centuries in China before Sherlock Holmes even got a clue. But perhaps more importantly, his stories continue to inform ordinary Chinese people's understanding of justice and law.

Read more
Asia
2:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

China Fights Choking Smog With New Regulations

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:13 pm

China's central and local governments are releasing a slew of new regulations aimed at cutting severe air pollution and mitigating its deadly effect on citizens. The seriousness of the problem is obvious in China's northeast, where smog in one city this week cut visibility down to a few yards, and particulate matter soared to 60 times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.

Parallels
3:38 am
Sun October 13, 2013

For Myanmar's Kachin Rebels, Life Teeters Between War, Peace

Members of the Kachin Independence Army train at a refugee camp in northern Myanmar.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:04 pm

Despite progress in its transition to democracy, Myanmar has struggled to end all the ethnic insurgencies that have long divided the country.

Now the Kachin — the last of the insurgent groups that have been fighting the government — have signed a preliminary agreement that could end the conflict.

The agreement falls short of an actual cease-fire, but calls for both sides to work "to end all armed fighting."

Read more
Parallels
1:43 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Ethical Tradition Meets Economics In An Aging China

A woman surnamed Chu (left), 77, attends the hearing of a case against her daughter and husband in Wuxi, east China's Jiangsu province, on July 1. Chu's daughter has been ordered to visit her at least once every two months, in the first case under a new law to protect the elderly.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:44 am

The sound of Buddhist chants wafts through an annex of the Songtang Hospice, the first private facility of its kind in Beijing. A group of lay Buddhists is trying to ease the passage of a recently departed soul of a patient.

When I first visited this place nearly two decades ago, the average patient stayed just 18 days. Now, it caters to people who are not terminally ill, and the average stay is about five years.

Read more
Parallels
5:39 am
Thu September 26, 2013

New Chinese Law Cracks Down On 'Rumor Mongers'

Chinese authorities go to great lengths to censor the Internet and control social media. A 16-year-old was recently arrested under a new law that bars "rumormongering" online. Here, customers use computers at an Internet cafe in Hefei, China, in 2012.
Jianan Yu Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:57 am

Authorities in western China apparently wanted to make an example of 16-year-old Yang Hui.

He was the first person in China to be arrested under a new rule against "rumor mongers," defined as people who intentionally post a rumor that is reposted 500 times or more, or viewed 5,000 times or more.

Read more

Pages