Owning a press card is a must to collect and edit news in China legally.

According to the State Press and Publication Administration’s regulations, journalists are forced to renew their cards every five years and verify them annually.

Those who fail the verification exam will have their cards canceled. 

Citing the All-China Journalists Association’s releases, The Epoch Times reported that 14,188 journalists failed the annual verification between 2021 and 2022.

In November 2012, China had 248,101 licensed journalists. Today, ten years later, only 180,075 remain. In just a decade, the number decreased by 68,026, or 27.4%. 

In May this year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international non-governmental organization, reported that more than 120 journalists are currently in jail. This number makes China top the world as the largest prison for reporters.

The organization pointed out that the media places the role of the Party’s mouthpiece under the Communist regime. 

Beijing increasingly takes authoritarian control over both state-owned and private media outlets. Foreign journalists even face more challenges when reporting in China. 

Those involved in reporting activities under the guise of news organizations or “fake” news reporters will be penalized with about 4,500 dollars and could face criminal prosecution.

Meanwhile, the regime regularly monitors, harasses, detains, and even tortures those who dare to report on “sensitive” information. 

To keep these reporters silent, Beijing will even charge them with spying, subverting state power, or provoking trouble.

The regime could place independent journalists under residential surveillance in designated locations. It could be in “lawful” solitary confinement in “black jails” for six months. 

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