The bill was put forward on Thursday as China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), met for its delayed annual gathering. China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, said the legislation - which would ban "treason, secession, sedition and subversion" - should be brought in "without the slightest delay". On Sunday, thousands of people defied government warnings and marched through the city centre to protest against the bill. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators, who were wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus. There were at least 180 arrests.
In a statement on Monday, Secretary for Security John Lee said that in the past year, "the violence in Hong Kong has been escalating, with many cases involving explosives and genuine firearms".