A controversial security law for Hong Kong proposed by China during its national legislative session should be imposed "without the slightest delay", China's foreign minister said on Sunday.
The proposal is expected to ban treason, subversion and sedition, and comes after Hong Kong was shaken by months of massive and sometimes violent anti-government protests.Wang Yi told a press conference that the law was "imperative" after protests in the semi-autonomous hub last year "seriously endangered China's national security".
The draft measure would authorise Chinese lawmakers to directly enact controversial security legislation long called for under Hong Kong's mini-constitution but which authorities in the city have been unable to push through due to local public opposition.
"It is imperative that the Hong Kong national security legal system and enforcement mechanism must be established without the slightest delay," Wang said.
He told reporters covering the week-long legislative session that "violent and terrorist activities are continuing to escalate, (and) foreign forces have deeply and illegally interfered in Hong Kong affairs."
Hong Kong's unpopular pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam said in a statement on Friday that the new proposal was necessary to protect national security and punish "violent political elements".
Police fired tear gas in Hong Kong on Sunday after hundreds of pro-democracy campaigners defied warnings not to gather for their first rally since China introduced the legislative proposal.