Despite a dramatic government backdown on the anti-subversion bill, the organisers of last night's rally stuck to their original script of 'Oppose Article 23, return power to the people'. Thanks to the massive rally on July 1, the stakes have been raised, with a shift towards the demand for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. With people demanding a better government and more say in the National Security Bill, the pro-democracy forces are hopeful of capitalising on this sentiment to build momentum for their cause. Some pro-democracy legislators have already demanded the enactment be deferred until after the Legislative Council is fully returned through universal suffrage. Rightly or wrongly, they argue the government would only listen to the voice of people if there was full democracy. Veteran Democrat Lee Wing-tat said it was no easy task taking advantage of the success of the anti-Article 23 movement. 'Article 23 is a specific bill that the government needs to respond to. There is no battlefield for democracy. We have to open one and force the government to respond,' he said. Mr Lee, a vice-chairman of the Democratic Party, said it was important that many academics and professionals had been mobilised in the July 1 rally. 'This will help form a grand coalition for full universal suffrage. This is the easiest way to stir up public sentiment. 'We think a change in the political system is most important,' he said. A subtle change of mindset in some influential quarters may have a deeper impact on the democracy debate. Former high-ranking government official Kwong Ki-chi raised eyebrows this week when he told an RTHK radio programme that the July 1 rally underscored the importance of democracy. He said Hong Kong could consider the election of the chief executive through universal suffrage in 2007. 'Mr Kwong has been one of those elites in the government who maintained that democracy would hamper efficiency ... I believe some businessmen have also had a rethink about democracy,' Mr Lee said. There are no signs yet of the central government or the conservative camp in Hong Kong having a change of heart on universal suffrage. Nor do they think the lack of full democracy is central to the political predicament facing the Tung leadership. Yesterday, the chief executive reiterated a pledge that the government will be more open and receptive to public opinion. But he was non-committal on any substantive change in democratisation or a cabinet reshuffle. With public patience wearing thin in Hong Kong, Mr Tung and the central government authorities will no longer be able to delay an early constitutional review on the grounds of stability and effective governance.