Pro-democracy lawmakers and human rights groups yesterday described the government's concessions over the national security laws as 'trivial' and not good enough to ease their worries. But other political parties said the changes were a big step forward and adequate to protect the rights and freedom now enjoyed in Hong Kong. Democratic Party chairman Yeung Sum said the government had ignored the public's views in going ahead with the proposal to ban local groups linked to mainland groups outlawed on national security grounds. 'Why does the government fail to listen to the voice of the public and scrap the most worrying part of the proposal? This shows the government does not care about their views and only adopts some trivial changes,' he said. Mr Yeung also criticised the methodology in classifying public views: 'The views are classified as supporting, opposing and uncertain, which are too general and misleading.' Kan Hung-cheung, spokesman for the local branch of the Falun Gong, said the government only amended some 'unimportant' sections but kept clauses which would undermine rights and freedoms. 'If the floodgate is broken, rights and freedoms in Hong Kong will be seriously damaged. In the end, everyone will be hurt,' he said, adding that he feared the activities of the Falun Gong would be restricted. But Liberal Party chairman and executive councillor James Tien Pei-chun defended the amendments endorsed by Exco yesterday. 'Many people were concerned whether the legislation would affect press freedom. The government's clarifications have responded to the concerns felt in many areas,' he said. Other pro-Chinese government groups, including the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance, welcomed the changes, saying they were a big step forward and addressed public concerns. 'The government has listened to public views. It showed the government is determined to uphold by deeds freedom of speech and the free flow of information as guaranteed by the Basic Law,' the alliance said. The Hong Kong Journalists Association regretted the government's failure to include the defence of public interest in the proposed offence of unauthorised disclosure of protected information. 'This would hinder the rights of the public to receive information,' it said. The group also said the government should promise not to include provisions to force journalists to disclose their sources. But the Hong Kong News Executives' Association said the government had responded to the concerns voiced by journalists. The group hoped the administration would continue listening to the views of the public and issue a white bill before beginning the legislative process. Lu Ping, Taiwan's new de facto cultural envoy to Hong Kong, said the doubts of people on the possible impact of Article 23 on rights and freedoms had created a 'heavy atmosphere' in the community. She likened the situation to doubts in the community about Hong Kong's future before the handover. Ms Lu, who arrived in Hong Kong last Thursday to take up the post of director of the Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Centre, operated by the Taiwanese Government Information Office, has encouraged artists in Hong Kong to fearlessly continue being artistically creative despite any possible limitations imposed by the new laws.