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.



Wed March 11, 2015

As Palm Oil Farms Expand, It's A Race To Save Indonesia's Orangutans

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 10:40 pm

A baby orangutan wearing a diaper swings through the trees at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program outside Medan, capital of Indonesia's North Sumatra province. The program takes mostly orphaned orangutans, nurses them back to health and releases them back into the wild.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

On a hillside on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, about 50 red-haired refugees are learning how to be orangutans once again. The country's booming palm oil industry has encroached on their habitats, leaving many of them homeless and orphaned.

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Wed March 4, 2015

The Anti-Pollution Documentary That's Taken China By Storm

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 8:29 pm

Journalist Chai Jing used $160,000 of her own money to produce a documentary on China's air pollution problem.
Screenshot/Under the Dome

Two hundred million and counting: That's how many times a documentary about China's massive air pollution problem has been viewed online since the weekend. Environmentalists are hailing it as an eye-opener for Chinese citizens.

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Sat February 21, 2015

Indonesia's President: Fan Of Megadeth, Defender Of Death Penalty

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:20 am

Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspects an honor guard during a visit to Manila, Philippines, on Feb. 9. Widodo's supporters see him as very different from the strongmen who have long run Indonesia. But he has dismayed some of his backers with his strong support of the death penalty.
Jay Directo AFP/Getty Images

Indonesian President Joko Widodo took office a little more than 100 days ago, buoyed by sky-high expectations for political change. He's seen as very different from the strongmen and power brokers who have dominated the country for decades.

And he's certainly unconventional. He's an avid fan of heavy metal groups like Metallica and Megadeth. He's been photographed wearing black Napalm Death T-shirts and flashing the "devil's horns" hand sign.

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Tue February 17, 2015

So An American Comic Walks Into A Chinese Bar ...

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 9:28 am

Comedian Jesse Appell performs at a club in Beijing. Appell won a scholarship in 2012 to study comedy in China and has been performing on the country's small but growing stand-up comedy circuit.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

When American comic Jesse Appell first arrived in China, his intestinal fortitude was tested by Beijing street food. And that's become material his stand-up act, which was on display recently at the Hot Cat Club, a small but popular Beijing bar and performance venue.

"I ate at restaurants that hadn't been renovated in so long they still had portraits of [Chairman] Mao up on the wall," he says.

The Mao reference seems suitably ancient to the young crowd of expats, and they burst out laughing.

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Wed January 14, 2015

One County Provides Preview Of China's Looming Aging Crisis

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 6:33 pm

Senior citizens eat dinner in the unheated dining room of their government-funded retirement home in rapidly aging Juegang Township, Rudong County, in eastern China's Jiangsu province. Just a few years ago, the town had only one such facility; now it has five.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

A decade from now, about 2025, experts predict that China's population will peak — reaching as high as 1.4 billion — and begin to steadily decline. Some of them are predicting that a shrinking, aging population could lead to a national crisis.

One way to peer into the future is to visit a county in eastern China that pioneered population controls a decade before the rest of the country — and is now feeling their impact.

Rudong County is in Jiangsu province, on China's east coast just north of where the Yangtze River empties into the East China Sea.

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Sun December 28, 2014

AirAsia Flight Goes Missing With 162 Aboard

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 11:07 am

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Wed December 3, 2014

Is 'Womenomics' The Answer To Japan's Economic Woes?

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:59 pm

Lumberjack Yukiko Koyama cuts pine trees on a hillside overlooking Matsumoto City in Nagano prefecture on Japan's central Honshu island. Koyama's employment at a local timber mill is partially subsidized by a government program to get more Japanese women into the workforce.
Yo Nagaya NPR

Yukiko Koyama kicked around Tokyo for a few years looking for the right job. For a while, she designed costumes for classical ballet dancers. But she longed to work in the great outdoors, and to find a job she could really sink her teeth into.

Two years ago, she found just the right thing for her: sinking a chainsaw's teeth into the pine forests of Matsumoto City in landlocked Nagano prefecture. Forests there on the central island of Honshu have been growing since the end of World War II, and many are in need of weeding.

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Mon December 1, 2014

In China, One Woman's Challenge To The Legal System

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 2:55 am

Chinese customs officials, like the ones shown here in August at the Lukou International Airport in Nanjing, have broad powers to confiscate items. One woman who had copies of her father's memoir seized has sued the government.
Xie Mingming Xinhua/Landov

This year, significant legal reforms have tried to make China's judiciary more accountable, and make it easier for citizens to sue the government.

But those changes may not take effect soon enough to help Chinese citizens who are punished without being told exactly what they did wrong.

One Chinese woman is suing the government for what she says is exactly this predicament.

The case will go to trial even as China is taking unprecedented steps to reform its legal system.

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Thu November 20, 2014

Low Consumer Spending Hinders Japan's Economic Recovery

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 8:28 am

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A big aim of Japan's effort to revive the economy is to get consumers to start buying again. Consumers are spending a little more, but apparently not enough. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Tokyo.

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Wed November 5, 2014

Chinese Tech Company Combines Multiple App Types Into One — At Great Profit

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 10:23 am

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