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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3:27am

Thu August 16, 2012
Middle East

Asked To Spy On Rebels, Syrian Soldier Becomes One

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 4:53 pm

A Syrian soldier casts a shadow as he stands in the northwest city of Idlib in May. Growing numbers of Syrian soldiers are defecting and joining the rebels.
Khaled al-Hariri Reuters/Landov

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has been stung by a string of prominent defections, from the prime minister to a leading general to a military aviator who was Syria's first man in space.

Ra'ed, a soldier from Syria's most prestigious military unit, the Republican Guard, is among the defectors.

The guard's chief duty is to protect the Syrian leadership. But Ra'ed says he never felt proud to serve after he was drafted in June 2010 at age 19.

Ra'ed, who is now living in Lebanon, asked that NPR use only his first name out of concern for his safety.

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4:17pm

Wed August 15, 2012
Middle East

Syrian Jets Fire On Hospital, As Fighting Rages

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 6:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The center of the Syrian capital, Damascus, was shaken today by a bomb attack and clashes between rebels and government troops. At the same time, the U.N. issued a report accusing both sides of war crimes.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn has more from Beirut.

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4:40pm

Fri August 10, 2012
Middle East

Sunni Cleric Rises To Challenge Hezbollah In Lebanon

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 9:45 am

Sheik Ahmad Assir speaks to supporters at a tent encampment set up in protest against Hezbollah in Sidon, Lebanon. He accuses the Islamist militant group of using resistance against Israel as a smokescreen for another aim: advancing Iranian regional hegemony.
Mohamad al-Baba NPR

On a recent day, baffled motorists honked their horns and veered around the blocked entrance to a major street in Sidon. Now Lebanon's third-largest city, Sidon was once a flourishing Phoenician city-state on the Mediterranean.

The street was closed off by Sunni cleric Sheik Ahmad Assir, who erected a small tent encampment in protest against the country's most powerful military and political force, the militant Islamist group Hezbollah.

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8:07am

Sat August 4, 2012
Middle East

Rebels In Syria Respond To Crescendo Of Criticism

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

A picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network purportedly shows Syrian rebels celebrating after taking over a police station in the Ansari district of Aleppo on Friday.
AFP/Getty Images

For the second weekend in a row, observers are predicting a major government offensive against rebels in Syria's largest city, Aleppo. Fierce fighting has also been reported in parts of the capital, Damascus. Allegations of atrocities on both sides of the conflict have prompted a crescendo of criticism from the outside world.

Both sides claim to have gained the upper hand in the fighting over Aleppo, the country's commercial hub and the main city in the north. The government said last week that it had killed many rebels in Aleppo and would soon restore peace to the city.

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6:01am

Mon July 30, 2012
Middle East

In Syria, Building Up For An Extended Battle

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:11 pm

Syrian rebels patrol the streets near Aleppo, Syria.
EPA /Landov

Government troops are battling rebels for control of Syria's largest city, Aleppo. The government launched a major offensive over the weekend to retake neighborhoods held by the Free Syrian Army. Both sides appear to be preparing for an extended battle that could prove crucial to the outcome of the 17-month-old uprising.

After days of massing troops and weapons, the government assaulted rebel-held neighborhoods with tanks, helicopters and artillery, as heard in an amateur video uploaded to YouTube.

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6:12pm

Sun July 29, 2012
World

Cars For Clunkers: Myanmar Swaps Old Rides For New

An old taxi is pushed toward a vehicle license office to be exchanged for an import permit in Yangon, Myanmar. As many Burmese citizens take cars as an investment, many imports are sold and resold with a higher markup.
Soe Zeya Tun Reuters/Landov

Nowhere are the many recent reforms in Myanmar, also known as Burma, so evident as on city streets. Until this year, they were often choked with ancient jalopies because for most of the past half century ordinary Burmese citizens weren't allowed to purchase imported cars.

But the country's car import policies are now undergoing a lurching sort of liberalization, whose speed, quirks and unintended consequences offer a window on Myanmar's reforms.

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3:19am

Tue July 3, 2012
Asia

Cheered In Europe, Suu Kyi Faces Crises In Myanmar

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 10:23 am

Rohingya Muslims, trying to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh to escape sectarian violence in Myanmar, look on from an intercepted boat in Teknaf, June 13. The plight of the Rohingya minority is one of the tests Suu Kyi faces at home.
Munir Uz Zaman AFP/Getty Images

There are few opposition leaders who are welcomed abroad with the same pomp and ceremony as heads of state. But that's the sort of star treatment lavished on Aung San Suu Kyi, opposition leader of Myanmar, also known as Burma, on her three-week tour of Europe.

But pressure is increasing on her to address simmering political crises at home, and to move her country's democratic changes forward.

In Geneva, Oslo, Dublin, London and Paris, Suu Kyi issued eloquent pleas for ethical foreign investment in Myanmar and foreign support for her country's ongoing reforms.

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12:52pm

Fri June 29, 2012
World

Will Reforms End Myanmar Monks' Spiritual Strike?

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 10:26 pm

Buddhists donate food and other necessities to monks as a way of earning merit for future lives. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military as a political protest in 1990 and 2007, a boycott that some monks insist is still in effect.
Ye Aung Thu AFP/Getty Images

In response to political reforms in Myanmar — also known as Burma — the U.S. and other Western countries have eased some sanctions targeting the country's former military rulers.

But so far, one of the most powerful institutions inside the country has kept its sanctions in place. For some time, Myanmar's Buddhist clergy have effectively been on a spiritual strike by refusing to take donations from the military — a serious blow to the former regime's legitimacy.

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9:16pm

Wed June 20, 2012
World

'Many Strands' Of Suu Kyi's Life Unite In Oxford

Aung San Suu Kyi finally received her honorary degree from Oxford University after it was initially awarded in 1993. In her speech, Suu Kyi praised Oxford for helping her see humankind at its best during her long years under house arrest in Myanmar.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Aung San Suu Kyi would probably not be the symbol of Burma's quest for democracy without her experiences at Oxford University. She studied there in the 1960s and raised a family there in the '70s.

Suu Kyi returned to her alma mater Wednesday to receive the honorary degree she was unable to collect for more than a decade while under house arrest.

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4:46am

Wed June 20, 2012
Europe

Oxford To Honor Suii Kyi After Years Of House Arrest

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 9:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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3:54pm

Tue June 12, 2012
Asia

A Nobel Acceptance Speech — Two Decades Overdue

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 10:49 pm

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi is heading to Europe for the first time in more than two decades and will be giving a series of high-profile speeches She's shown here on June 2 meeting with Myanmarese refugees who are living in camps in Thailand.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul AFP/Getty Images

Aung San Suu Kyi heads to Europe Wednesday, where she'll deliver a speech she was invited to give more than two decades ago: the one for her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, which she was unable to collect while under house arrest.

In Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, at the headquarters of Suu Kyi's party, spokesman U Nyan Win says she is busy writing speeches for her extended trip to Europe, including the visit to Oslo for the belated Nobel address this weekend.

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10:06am

Sun June 3, 2012
Asia

'Like Our Own Mother': Aung San Suu Kyi In Thailand

Originally published on Sun June 3, 2012 7:36 pm

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi waves to Myanmar refugees during her visit to the Mae La refugee camp near the Thai-Myanmar border on Saturday.
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul AFP/Getty Images

On her first journey abroad in 24 years, Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi upstaged and dazzled world leaders with her statesmanship and charisma.

Suu Kyi attended an international economic forum in Thailand last week, but Saturday was very different. She visited a camp on the Thai-Myanmar border, where refugees have fled to escape oppression and civil war in her homeland. The visit showed that despite becoming one of the most prominent politicians in Asia, her political situation at home remains a bit precarious.

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4:01pm

Mon May 28, 2012
Asia

For Future Energy, Volcanic Indonesia Bets On Heat

Originally published on Mon May 28, 2012 11:30 pm

A local resident entertains visitors to the Kawah Kamojang geothermal field in West Java. He puts a length of bamboo to the steam coming from the ground to make a whistle, then throws soda cans into the vent, which shoots them high into the air. The Dutch colonial government drilled Indonesia's first geothermal wells at Kamojang in 1926, when the country was still known as the Dutch East Indies.
Yosef Riadi for NPR

Indonesia, the country with the world's largest number of active volcanoes, is betting that all the hot rocks will provide a clean and reliable energy source for the future.

The country is believed have 40 percent of the world's geothermal energy resources. But making geothermal energy economically feasible will require adjusting the country's heavily subsidized energy prices. And that issue is a political hot potato.

Unused Potential

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1:20pm

Thu May 24, 2012
Asia

Hard-Line Muslims Confront Indonesia's Christians

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 9:37 pm

Muslims (in the foreground) face a group of Christians during a bloody clash in Ambon, the provincial capital of Indonesia's Maluku Island, on Sept. 11, 2011. The riot exposed deep fault lines between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia.
Angkotasan Getty Images

In the city of Bekasi, Indonesia, outside Jakarta, a handful of Christians head to Sunday worship. But before they can reach their destination, they are stopped and surrounded by a large crowd of local Muslims who jeer at them and demand that they leave.

This is the Filadelfia congregation, a Lutheran group. They are ethnic Bataks from the neighboring island of Sumatra who have migrated to Bekasi, and they have been blocked from holding services on several occasions. Recently, a journalist who demonstrated in support of the congregation was beaten by an angry mob.

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4:41pm

Wed May 16, 2012
Asia

U.S. Forces In Australia Draw Mixed Reaction

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 7:34 pm

U.S. Marines are shown during a training exercise south of Darwin, Australia. Marines recently arrived in Australia as part of a move by the U.S. to place greater emphasis on Asia and the Pacific.
Glenn Campbell The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Since a small contingent of Marines landed in the northern port town of Darwin last month, the U.S. has shown greater interest in using Australian military facilities as part of a larger effort to refocus its military capabilities in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific.

"We have no better ally or friend in the world than Australia, and we have no area in the world which is as important or dynamic over the next 50 years as the Asia Pacific," says Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. ambassador to Australia.

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