The post-handover executive council yesterday endorsed a set of amendments to the Societies and Public Order ordinances, said to be more lenient than those originally proposed. The amendments will be made public tomorrow and tabled to the provisional legislature for first and second readings this weekend in Shenzhen. In the endorsed package, it is understood that police will be given discretionary powers to allow some demonstrations to go ahead, even if no application has been submitted 48 hours in advance. Protesters can also assemble even if they have not received the letters of no objection issued by the police. Under the original proposal, protesters had to apply for a letter 48 hours before a planned rally. A ban on 'aliens' funding local political groups has also been deleted from the bill. Only foreign political groups will be barred from making donations. Post-handover Cabinet member Tam Yiu-chung was tight-lipped on the details of the amendments, which are being made after fierce criticism of the consultation paper to curtail freedom of assembly and association. The draft bill, however, drew different reactions from a political party and an executive councillor. Ip Kwok-him, a legislator from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, described the amendments as satisfactory. 'It shows that the Chief Executive's Office has already absorbed opinions expressed by society. It can be said that the bill is acceptable,' he said. But Mr Ip stressed his party still demanded China should be banned from making donations to local political groups. Edward Chen Kwan-yiu, an executive councillor to Governor Chris Patten, stuck to the belief that there was no need to change the system by which police are notified before demonstrations are staged. 'Just notifying the police [before holding protests] is enough to safeguard social stability. It will only have negative impact if the laws are too stringent,' he said.