Aynne Kokas

Fast Facts

  • Director, UVA East Asia Center
  • Non-resident scholar, Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy
  • Member, 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 the C.K. Yen Professor at the Miller Center, director of UVA's East Asia Center, and a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Kokas’ research examines Sino-U.S. media and technology relations. Her award-winning book Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty (Oxford University Press, October 2022) argues that exploitative Silicon Valley data governance practices help China build infrastructures for global control. Her award-winning first 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. 

Kokas is a non-resident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow in the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program.

She was a Fulbright Scholar at East China Normal University and has received fellowships from the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Japan’s Abe Fellowship, and other international organizations. Her writing and commentary have appeared globally in more than 50 countries and 15 languages. In the United States, her research and writing appear regularly in media outlets including CNBC, NPR’s MarketplaceThe Washington Post, and Wired. She has testified before the Senate Finance Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Aynne Kokas News Feed

Aynne Kokas joins Tommy to talk about the concern over Tik Tok and why government wants to ban it.
Aynne Kokas WWL Radio
Aynne Kokas is interviewed on BBC NewsHour about proposals to ban TikTok.
Aynne Kokas BBC NewsHour
This week, two U.S. senators plan to introduce legislation to ban the Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok. TikTok is used by two-thirds of American teens, but there’s concern in Washington that China could use its legal and regulatory powers to obtain private user data or to try to push misinformation or narratives favoring China. The bill is being introduced by Senator Mark Warner, a democrat from Virginia, who is concerned about the type of content that Americans are seeing on the app. What would a complete ban on TikTok mean for American users? How does the app pose a potential threat to our national security, and how would banning it pose a threat to our civil liberties? Joining us today on AirTalk to discuss the bill to ban TikTok is Anna Edgerton, who covers tech policy and national security for Bloomberg News, and Aynne Kokas, director of the University of Virginia East Asia Center and author of the book “Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty.”
Aynne Kokas KPCC Airtalk
Such concerns focus both on potential risks posed to U.S. national security, as well as business advantages afforded to Chinese companies that may gain access to the information, Aynne Kokas, professor of media studies and the director of the East Asia Center at the University of Virginia, told ABC News. "There are significant national security concerns about Chinese firms that are gathering data in the U.S. and what they can do with that," Kokas said. "TikTok has a lot of users."
Aynne Kokas ABC News
"There are real concerns about data gathering by Chinese companies," said Aynne Kokas, a professor of the University of Virginia, and author of the book Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty. "But the idea that this problem goes away if you ban TikTok, that's just not true."
Aynne Kokas New Straits Times
“More than anything the provision is designed to send a message and to prevent things like the U.S. military cooperating on Top Gun: Maverick only for initial promotional images to excise the Taiwan flag,” Aynne Kokas, the C.K. Yen Chair at the Miller Center and the author of Hollywood Made in China and Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty, told The China Project.
Aynne Kokas The China Project