Chinese and Hong Kong media say the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress voted unanimously to approve a national security law for Hong Kong.

Protesters gather at a shopping mall in Central during a pro-democracy protest against Beijing's national security law in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020.
Protesters gather at a shopping mall in Central during a pro-democracy protest against Beijing's national security law in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020. (AP)

Protesters gathered in a Hong Kong shopping mall on Tuesday after media reports China had approved a contentious law that would allow authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in the territory, sparking fears it would be used to curb opposition voices in the semi-autonomous territory.

The South China Morning Post newspaper and public broadcaster RTHK, both citing unnamed sources, said that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress voted unanimously to approve a national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday.

'To curb subversive activities'

The legislation is aimed at curbing subversive, secessionist and terrorist activities, as well as foreign intervention in the city's affairs.

It follows months of anti-government protests that at times descended into violence in Hong Kong last year.

Hong Kong is a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, under a "one country, two systems" agreement that guaranteed the city a high degree of autonomy.

READ MORE: China passes Hong Kong security law

Source: AP