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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11:13am

Tue February 4, 2014
Parallels

Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 8:00 pm

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

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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12:22pm

Sun January 26, 2014
Asia

A Crusader Against Corruption, Chinese Activist Sentenced To Jail

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 12:47 pm

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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3:52pm

Fri January 10, 2014
Asia

An Execution In North Korea Has A Chilling Effect In China

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:48 pm

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

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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5:27pm

Thu January 2, 2014
Asia

Lure Of China's Gray Economy Reaches Rich And Poor

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:27 pm

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

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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12:39pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Parallels

China Sets Ambitious Agenda In 'Asian Space Race'

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 8:57 pm

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

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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10:40am

Fri October 25, 2013
Parallels

Before Sherlock: An Ancient Chinese Sleuth's Enduring Appeal

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 12:19 pm

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

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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5:38am

Sun October 13, 2013
Parallels

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

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:04 pm

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

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."

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3:43am

Tue October 1, 2013
Parallels

Ethical Tradition Meets Economics In An Aging China

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:44 am

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

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.

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7:39am

Thu September 26, 2013
Parallels

New Chinese Law Cracks Down On 'Rumor Mongers'

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:57 am

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

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.

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11:34pm

Sat September 21, 2013
Asia

Bo Xilai's Life Sentence Reveals China's Leadership Problem

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 11:20 am

Disgraced politician Bo Xilai stands during his trial on corruption charges in August.
Kyodo/Landov

A court in East China sentenced former top Chinese official Bo Xilai to life in prison for corruption after one of the highest-profile political trials of recent years.

Media coverage of the court hearings transfixed audiences with details of murder, a love triangle and lavish official life styles. The case may prove to be a political Pandora's box that could bring down even higher-ranking officials and widen divisions over the country's future direction.

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