China has introduced a law making it potentially a criminal offense to defame or deny the deeds and spirit of the country's historic martyrs, state media said, the latest move to protect symbols of party and state.

President Xi Jinping has ushered in a series of laws in the name of protecting China and the ruling Communist Party from threats both within and outside the country, as well as presiding over a crackdown on dissent and free speech.

China's largely rubber-stamp parliament introduced legislation to protect the name, image, reputation and honor of the country's historic heroes and martyrs, the official Xinhua News Agency said.