Aynne Kokas

Fast Facts

  • Non-resident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy
  • Term member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Fellow in the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program
  • Expertise on U.S.-China relations, cybersecurity, media industry

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Asia
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Media and the Press
  • Science and Technology

Aynne Kokas is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Kokas’ research examines Sino-U.S. media and technology relations. Her book Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017) argues that Chinese investment and regulations have transformed the U.S. commercial media industry, most prominently in the case of media conglomerates’ leverage of global commercial brands. Her project at the Wilson Center, Border Control on the Digital Frontier: China, the United States, and the Global Battle for Data Security, examines the cybersecurity policy implications of the Sino-U.S. data trade.

Kokas is a non-resident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow in the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program. Her writing and commentary appear regularly in media outlets including the BBC, CNBC, NPR’s Marketplace, The Washington Post, and Wired.

Aynne Kokas News Feed

The images of bare-chested, flag-waving MAGA loyalists overtaking the US Capitol flooded US social media and news channels in the days following the January 6 siege against the electoral college count. Memed and amplified, the same images circulated widely on Chinese social media and state-owned news sites without even the need for critical commentary.
Aynne Kokas Financial Review
As a scholar of US-China relations, what strikes me most is that while lawmakers condemn anti-democratic actions abroad, we failed our core institutions, those that seek to build a timeless democracy through knowledge.
Aynne Kokas South China Morning Post
What does it take to make a Hollywood blockbuster? Movie stars? A great script? How about approval from the Chinese government? In this episode, two guests explore the surprising role of Chinese censorship and oversight in the production of U.S. films and ask what’s at stake as their presence increases.
Aynne Kokas Council on Foreign Relations
Chances are, by now you have heard about the controversy surrounding TikTok, the popular social media video app. The controversy stems from allegations that TikTok complies with Chinese Communist Party’s request to provide user data for purposes of surveillance and intelligence gathering. And yes, that data is purported to include US user data. But the TikTok controversy highlights a much larger issue – that of US user data exfiltration to external nation states such as China as a security and privacy risk. Are the steps being taken by the Trump administration appropriate or overkill? Is TikTok unique or part of a growing trend? And what are the consequences of data gathering and exfiltration across borders. We will discuss all this and more with our guest Aynne Kokas, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and a senior faculty fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs.
Aynne Kokas TechSequences Podcast
“People who have spoken out are the people whose work has very little chance of ever appearing in China,” says Aynne Kokas, author of “Hollywood Made in China.” “For example, Judd Apatow, whose screwball sex comedies will never enter the Chinese market, spoke out.”
Aynne Kokas The Christian Science Monitor
Whoever wins Tuesday's U.S. presidential election, one of the biggest issues facing lawmakers around the world will be how to deal with Chinese-owned social media sensation, TikTok. No more so than in Japan, where TikTok is one of the country's most popular social media apps, yet local regulators have serious concerns about the video-sharing platform's data protection for its citizens.
Aynne Kokas Nikkei Asia