Experts

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

China’s decision to hand control of the film industry over to its Central Publicity Department in 2018 seemed to confirm that President Xi Jinping is deeply invested in controlling the narrative of his country’s films. Aynne Kokas, the author of “Hollywood: Made in China” and a senior faculty fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs, said placing the film industry under the supervision of what is essentially a propaganda department is a means of maximizing “the number of ways that the Chinese government can share their narrative both domestically and internationally.”
Aynne Kokas PBS NewsHour
“I think the key point to take away is when Hollywood studios try to create for the Chinese market, they tend to be unsuccessful,” said Aynne Kokas, author of “Hollywood Made in China.” ″They thought ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ would do well in the Chinese market and it didn’t. Some of it is because of a lack of nuance in a lot of the fare.”
Aynne Kokas Associated Press
According to Aynne Kokas, an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, who has studied the Chinese media market extensively and published a book, Hollywood Made in China, about the subject, Bohemian Rhapsody “was censored under the guise of [upholding] general social norms,” though she also notes that nearly all sexual content is eliminated from films screened in China. The censorship of Bohemian Rhapsody caused what Kokas described as a “huge uproar” in China, angering some moviegoers.
Aynne Kokas Vice
The risk of a backlash also has implications for Hollywood, a partner for China’s booming film industry, according to Aynne Kokas, a professor at the University of Virginia who has written extensively on the China-Hollywood relationship. “Hollywood studios, long seeking to court Chinese audiences, now encounter a landscape in which the stars they have recruited to entice viewers also bring Chinese political conflicts to the fore,” Kokas said.
Aynne Kokas South China Morning Post
That perception is not unreasonable, said Aynne Kokas, author of the book “Hollywood Made in China” and a film industry scholar at University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs. Katzenberg’s presence at events with Xi reflected “the access Katzenberg had to the Obama administration,” she said, adding that raising millions of dollars for the Obama-Biden ticket surely helped.
Aynne Kokas Los Angeles Times
"I think this poses a dire situation for Hollywood," said Professor Aynne Kokas at the University of Virginia, the author of Hollywood Made In China, about the complicated relationship between the two entities. "There definitely will be a trickle-back effect. It's a very dangerous financial position to be reliant on Chinese box office to recoup profits."
Aynne Kokas The Straits Times