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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News
2:07 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Search Continues For Nearly 300 Missing In South Korea Ferry Accident

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:06 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
3:10 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Anger Boils Over For Families Of Flight 370 Passengers

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:34 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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News
2:33 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

News Of Flight 370's Suspected End Is Met With Relatives' Despair

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:46 pm

Malaysia's prime minister concluded that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean," setting off howls of grief and anger among passengers' families. The search continues for debris that would confirm the flight crashed.

World
10:25 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Malaysian Prime Minister Announces Airliner Went Down

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. We have breaking news this morning on the status of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 307. Earlier this hour Malaysia's prime minister announced that the government there now believes the plane is lost.

PRIME MINISTER NAJIB RAZAK: It's therefore, with deep sadness and regret, that I must inform you that Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

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Parallels
4:10 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

For Flight 370 Families, Every Day Is 'Torment'

Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight comfort each other as they wait for a news briefing by airline officials at a hotel ballroom in Beijing on Thursday.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:20 pm

Family members of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have grown increasingly frustrated in the nearly two weeks since the flight disappeared. Despite the efforts of airline and government officials, many relatives are angry about the lack of information. Some have even threatened to hunger strike in protest against the lack of information.

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News
2:25 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.

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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.

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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
2:01 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)

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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.

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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.

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Parallels
9:13 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.

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Asia
10:47 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

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.

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Asia
1:52 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.

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Asia
2:34 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.

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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.

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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.

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Animals
2:26 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:21 pm

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.

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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.

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NPR Story
3:12 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.

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