In the 2021 World Press Freedom Index, China ranks 177th out of 180 countries.
Now, it's considering a new law that would further restrict the media by banning all outlets not funded by the Chinese Communist Party, according to the Telegraph.
Reporter Sophia Yan wrote that a draft law states that news-gathering, editing, and broadcasting cannot be done by privately funded organizations.
She noted that officials haven't said if this law would outlaw foreign news groups that currently operate in China.
"Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, owned by tech tycoon Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, could potentially be impacted by the law," Yan wrote.
Yan, an American classical pianist who speaks Mandarin, has been the Telegraph's correspondent since 2019 and previously worked for CNN and CNBC.
In July, the U.S. State Department condemned the "increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment, and intimidation of U.S. and other foreign journalists in the People's Republic of China".
"The PRC government claims to welcome foreign media and support their work, but its actions tell a different story," the State Department declared. "Its harsh rhetoric, promoted through official state media, toward any news it perceives to be critical of PRC policies, has provoked negative public sentiment leading to tense, in-person confrontations and harassment, including online verbal abuse and death threats of journalists simply doing their jobs.
"Foreign journalists are increasingly refused visas to enter or remain in the PRC, severely limiting the quantity and quality of independent reporting on important issues," the State Department continued. "We call on the PRC to act as a responsible nation hoping to welcome foreign media and the world for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Reporters Without Borders states on its website that seven journalists are still being detained because of their coverage of the pandemic.
"In 2021, China continues to be the world’s biggest jailer of press freedom defenders, with more than 115 currently detained, often in conditions that pose a threat to their lives," Reporters Without Borders says. "Kunchok Jinpa, a leading media source of information about Tibet, died in February 2021 as a result of mistreatment in prison, just as Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel peace laureate and winner of the RSF Press Freedom Prize, and Yang Tongyan, a dissident blogger, did in 2017.
"By relying on the massive use of new technology, President Xi Jinping’s regime has imposed a social model based on control of news and information and online surveillance of its citizens. China’s state and privately-owned media are under the Communist Party’s ever-tighter control, while the administration creates more and more obstacles for foreign reporters."