Anthony Kuhn

Foreign Correspondent Anthony Kuhn is currently based in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he opened NPR’s first bureau in that country in 2010. From there, he covers Southeast Asia, and the gamut of natural and human diversity stretching from Myanmar to Fiji and Vietnam to Tasmania.

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 affect 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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3:43pm

Wed November 16, 2011
Asia

Cambodia Tries To Curb Foreign Men Seeking Wives

On any given night, foreign visitors throng the many bars, restaurants and hotels overlooking the Tonle Sap River on bustling Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. Among them, foreign men accompanied with Cambodian women are a common sight.

Just up the street is Rory's Pub, where a Celtic cross and a Bushmills whiskey sign hang on the wall.

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3:48am

Wed November 16, 2011
Asia

In Indonesia, Anger Against Mining Giant Grows

Originally published on Wed November 16, 2011 8:22 pm

Police clash with workers of American mining company Freeport-McMoRan during a protest in Timika, Papua province, Indonesia, Oct. 10. Indonesian security forces fired on striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg gold and copper mine after a protest turned deadly.
Anonymous AP

A foreign mining company, protected by hundreds of soldiers, extracts precious resources from a remote tropical forest. The mining enrages indigenous tribes, who resist.

It may sound like a movie script, but it is in fact the story of the world's largest gold mine, located high in the mountains of Indonesia's Papua province and owned by Freeport-McMoRan, an American mining conglomerate.

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1:49pm

Mon October 31, 2011
Asia

Dream Sparks Events That Reunite Cambodian Family

Originally published on Mon October 31, 2011 3:27 pm

In 1975, the Khmer Rouge told the family of Peou Nam that he had been executed. After 36 years of separation, hardship and an unusual series of events, the family was reunited in June this year. Son Phyrun visits his father at his farmhouse in southern Cambodia's Kampot province.

Anthony Kuhn NPR

On a recent day, Peou Phyrun steers his motorcycle down the rutted dirt road to his father's home in southern Cambodia's Kampot province. His father, 85-year-old Peou Nam, lives in a traditional Khmer farmhouse on stilts, where sugar palms tower over verdant rice paddies like giant dandelions on a lawn.

Like so many other families in Cambodia, theirs was torn apart by the Khmer Rouge. But unlike so many others, they were able to find each other, 36 years later, through a most unusual sequence of events.

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11:01am

Fri October 14, 2011
Asia

Judge Resigns, Casting Doubt Over Khmer Rouge Trials

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 12:05 pm

In this undated photo, a man cleans a skull near a mass grave at the Choeung Ek camp outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia — the best known of the killing fields run by the Khmer Rouge in the middle and late 1970s. Now, Cambodians are skeptical that a U.N.-backed tribunal will be able to deliver justice in the case of four remaining high-level Khmer Rouge officials.

Jeff Widener AP

Long running and frequently delayed, the legal cases against former leaders of the Khmer Rouge are now in danger of being terminated before many of their victims get the justice they've sought.

A German judge resigned this month from the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal. The judge, Siegfried Blunk, felt Cambodian officials were obstructing efforts to investigate the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, which is believed to have killed as many as 2 million of its own citizens between 1975 and 1979.

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1:09pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Asia

Widows Win Legal Victory In Indonesia Massacre Case

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 4:09 pm

Cawi Binti Baisan, 84, squats beside the grave of her first husband Bitol, a farmer who was executed by Dutch soldiers in 1947. She is one of seven remaining widows of the more than 400 estimated massacre victims. A Dutch court recently ruled that the Dutch government must compensate the widows for their losses.

Yosef Riadi for NPR

In Indonesia, many people are celebrating what they see as a long-delayed victory for justice and human rights. Representatives of a village in West Java that was the site of a massacre by Dutch colonial soldiers 64 years ago sued the Dutch government and won.

The Dutch court ruled that the government must now compensate the victims' seven surviving widows. One of them is 84-year-old Cawi Binti Baisan.

She remembers her husband Bitol waking her up before dawn one morning in 1947. Bitol, who went by only one name, had just come in from the rice paddies, carrying his plow.

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4:30pm

Mon September 26, 2011
The Salt

Lemongrass Brings Essential Spark To Southeast Asian Cooking

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 7:06 pm

A freshly tossed Thai lemongrass salad is served on betel leaves at Naj, a Bangkok restaurant
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Imagine you're trekking through the concrete jungle of just about any Southeast Asian city. The first thing you notice is the smorgasbord of smells, some enticing, others downright rank. Amid the urban odor-rama, one sweet herbal fragrance stands out. It's lemongrass. And it's just about everywhere.

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6:13am

Sun August 21, 2011
Asia

A Battle Is Under Way For The Forests Of Borneo

A dirt road passes through remote Sekendal village in Indonesia's western Borneo. Some 60 percent of the island's forests have been cut down, and only 8 percent of the islands virgin forests remain, mostly in national parks.
Andrew Limbong for NPR

A spry 80-year-old cruises through the thick vegetation of western Borneo, or western Kalimantan, as it's known to Indonesians. Dressed in faded pinstripe slacks and a polo shirt, Layan Lujum carries a large knife in his hand. The chief of the island's Sekendal village is making his morning rounds.

Layan is a member of an indigenous ethnic group called the Dayaks, who once had a reputation as fierce headhunters. As on most mornings, his first job on a recent day is to tend to his rubber trees.

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4:14pm

Wed August 10, 2011
Asia

Indonesian Family Pays Price For Exposing Cheating

Siami, a curtain-maker who goes by one name, is mother of Alifah Achmad Maulana. Neighbors hounded the family out of their village outside Surabaya, Indonesia, after she complained about cheating on the national high school entrance exam at the village public school.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

At the end of the summer exam season in Indonesia, education officials announced extraordinary results: a 99 percent pass rate for national high school entrance exams.

But among many Indonesians, the claim aroused scorn and suspicion of the country's education system, thanks in part to a young man named Alifah Achmad Maulana.

Alifah rides home from school most days on the back of his dad's motorbike. The pair tool past banana trees and hanging laundry to their small house in Gadel village outside Indonesia's second-largest city, Surabaya.

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8:00am

Sun July 24, 2011
Asia

U.S. Strengthens Ties To Asian Regional Grouping

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is claiming some modest successes after several days of talks with Asian leaders in Bali, Indonesia. The issues that stood out included territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Myanmar and North Korea.

After three days of talks, Clinton noted that tensions over the South China Sea issue have eased since last year, thanks in part to nonbinding guidelines that China and ASEAN approved Thursday to handle the dispute.

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5:23pm

Tue July 5, 2011
Asia

Indonesian School Accused Of Ties To Banned Group

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 10:12 am

Students and parents wait to register for a new term at Al-Zaytun, Indonesia's largest "pesantren," or Islamic boarding school.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

A student's call to prayer echoes through an empty mosque at dusk. The scene is Al-Zaytun, Indonesia's largest "pesantren," or Islamic boarding school. More than 6,000 students in 12 grades study at its sprawling campus in Indramayu, West Java. They memorize the Koran, and they study computers, human rights and journalism.

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4:00am

Mon July 4, 2011
Asia

Ousted Leader's Sister Is First Female Thai Prime Minister

Yingluck Shinawatra speaks to the media the day after her party won an overwhelming victory in Sunday's national election. The party is loyal to Yingluck's brother former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Elections in Thailand produced the country's first female prime minister on Sunday. Yingluck Shinawatra, 44, is a businesswoman with no political experience other than her carefully stage-managed election campaign.

Yingluck's real test will be to make peace with a political establishment and military that deposed her brother former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup five years ago.

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7:32am

Sun July 3, 2011
Asia

In Thailand, A Campaign For An Exiled Leader

A Buddhist monk sprinkles holy water on Red Shirt leaders as they parade through Baan Suksomboon in northeastern Thailand's Udon Thani province. Baan Suksomboon is Thailand's 255th Red Village to declare its support for opposition candidate Yingluck Shinawatra. Thaksin Shinawatra, pictured on the campaign poster, jokingly calls his sister his "clone."
Pailin Chitprasertsuk for NPR

Thai music blasts from a sound truck, as villagers in red shirts dance, listen to speeches, and eat sticky rice and spicy local cuisine at a local Buddhist temple. The residents of Baan Suksomboon, in northeast Udon Thani province, are here to declare that this is a "Red Village," organized in support of opposition candidate Yingluck Shinawatra. Several polls show her with a substantial lead.

But the faces on the campaign posters here are not Yingluck Shinawatra's. They belong to Thaksin Shinawatra, her older brother, who was ousted as prime minister in 2006.

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3:29pm

Mon June 20, 2011
Asia

Thailand To Tattoo Tourists: Think Before You Ink

A disciple of Master Noo Ganpai tattoos elaborate Buddhist designs onto the back of a customer.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Many of Thailand's tattoo tourists find their way to Bangkok's Khao San Road, where tattoo parlors are nestled among the Internet cafes, noodle stalls and other backpacker hangouts. A visitor along this road might pick up a tattoo, along with some beads and dreadlocks, and perhaps even a nose ring.

The Thais are famously welcoming to visitors. But last month, Thai Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat called for a ban on foreigners getting religious tattoos that offend Thai people.

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12:01am

Tue June 14, 2011
China: Beyond Borders

Full Steam Ahead For China's Rail Links Abroad?

The CRH2 China Railways high-speed bullet train, departing a Shanghai station in February 2007, is capable of speeds of more than 150 mph.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more.

After a generation of absorbing foreign capital and technology, China is now beginning to export them. It has found the export of infrastructure especially profitable, both economically and politically. China is building high-speed rail links in Turkey, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, and has expressed interest in bidding for projects in the United States.

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12:01am

Tue May 17, 2011
Asia

Southeast Asian Slums Network For Housing Rights

Filipino children sit in front of their slum homes in Manila, Philippines. Activists are trying to organize slum dwellers in order to provide them with a political voice.
Jay Directo AFP/Getty Images

Fast economic growth in many countries often carries a high price for some of the poorest residents: Vast slums are cleared by urban planners and commercial developers, sometimes by force.

But there's a growing international movement of activists who are fighting for slum-dwellers' housing rights.

Phnom Penh: A Rising Lake

Workers pump sand and water into Phnom Penh's Boeung Kak Lake in the heart of the Cambodian capital. Residents say developers are doing this to force them out of their ramshackle homes in exchange for minimal compensation.

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3:16pm

Mon April 11, 2011
Japan In Crisis

Japan's Public Broadcaster Responds, Reports Crisis

Of all the Japanese institutions that respond to emergencies, few are so crucial in saving lives as the broadcasters who warn ordinary citizens of the impending calamity.

Much of that task falls to NHK, the nation's public broadcaster.

Every night, NHK journalists rehearse emergency broadcasts so that they respond to disasters instinctively. It's a key part of NHK's journalistic mission, but what happened at 2:46 p.m. on March 11 was no drill.

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4:00am

Wed March 23, 2011
Asia

Japan Relief Update

Elderly residents of northern Japan have been especially hard hit by the twin disasters that struck Japan earlier this month. Many old people died in the tsunami and earthquake. Survivors are staying in temporary shelters and are having trouble getting adequate heat, food or medicine.

8:00am

Sat March 19, 2011
Japan In Crisis

Japan's Survivors Bid Dignified Farewell To Deceased

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast has torn the social fabric of many communities wrought havoc on the normal cycles of life and death. In the northern city of Kesennuma, where at least 300 people were killed by the tsunami, communities are struggling to maintain dignity and respect as they send off the deceased.

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