İrem UZUN -TDO- State news agency Xinhua reported China will propose a national security law for Hong Kong in response to last year's often violent pro-democracy protests that plunged the city into its deepest turmoil since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The Chinese parliament will discuss the controversial new law at its annual session, in a move likely to stoke unrest in the semi-autonomous region. The legislation will be introduced at the meeting of the National People's Congress that opens on Friday.

Ahead of the annual meeting, spokesman Zhang Yesui announced that this year's session would review a proposal titled "Establishment and Improvement of the Legal System and Implementation Mechanism for the Safeguarding of National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".

The law, which is expected to ban sedition, secession and subversion of the central government in Beijing, will be introduced through a rarely used constitutional method that could effectively bypass Hong Kong's legislature. The move could enable Beijing to crack down on anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

Emily Lau, a leading member of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, told Al Jazeera that residents of Hong Kong are very concerned, very alarmed, and very disturbed over fears the new legislation will take away their freedoms, personal safety and the rule of law. “Of course the timing of this is very significant. It may well be that a decision was taken by the leadership in Beijing to push through this legislation now because of course it's difficult for people to protest in Hong Kong," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States would react strongly if China follows through on plans to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong after last year’s often violent pro-democracy unrest.

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