HONG KONG reporters working in China were yesterday warned to comply with the law. At the opening of a journalism symposium, vice-director of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) Zhang Junsheng said it was understandable reporters brought up in Hong Kong knew little about the laws in China. But greater knowledge would help alleviate reporters' anxieties about reporting on the mainland. Mr Zhang reminded reporters to 'love their mother country'. 'There is no boundary for news, but news reporters do have their mother country. To love our own country is highly respectful behaviour. I think all of us should carefully consider this at this historic moment. 'It is the responsibility of every patriotic reporter,' he said. Vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association Kevin Lau Chun-to said there were laws in China which Hong Kong reporters might have difficulty in understanding. 'He is right that local reporters need to know the basic limitations of reporting in China. 'However, some of the Chinese laws are relatively vague, such as the definition of state secrets, especially after the case of Xi Yang,' he said. Xi was a Ming Pao reporter jailed for 12 years for allegedly stealing state secrets. Mr Lau said: 'The Chinese Government has great discretionary power in interpreting and enforcing its laws and regulations.' He urged it to take concrete action to prove press freedom would not be undermined after 1997. Mr Zhang said protection of press freedom was clearly defined in the Basic Law. 'After 1997, press freedom in Hong Kong will not be lessened, but increased. 'Regarding the self-censorship issue that we have heard a lot about these days, I think, because of the law, ethics and social environment, a certain degree of discipline is necessary. Anybody who objects to this discipline is being unreasonable,' he said. The symposium was organised by the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong and the Vocational Training Council.