Hong Kong will create a host of new national security offences, a senior official confirmed on Tuesday, building on a law Beijing imposed last year that has criminalised much dissent and transformed the city.
Chris Tang, a former police chief promoted to security secretary this year, said officials had started working on local legislation that would define new crimes under the security law.
“We hope to complete it within the next term of legislature and we will consult with the public,” Mr. Tang told the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao newspaper in a front-page report published on Tuesday.
In a separate interview with Sing Tao Daily, another pro-Beijing media outlet, Mr. Tang said officials were studying ongoing national security trials to guide their new legislation.
“We didn’t pay much attention to espionage activities in the past and now we are studying whether we need to regulate that,” Tang said.
China imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong last year in response to huge and often violent democracy protests.
The law targets any act deemed subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
It has been overwhelmingly deployed against people expressing certain political views and has remoulded the once freewheeling city in China’s own authoritarian image.
The new security law will be directed by Article 23 of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, Mr. Tang confirmed.
Article 23 calls for Hong Kong to pass its own national security legislation after the 1997 handover to China.
An attempt to do so in 2003 sparked huge protests and concerns that Hong Kong would lose its unique freedoms. The legislation was shelved.