International pressure is mounting on the Hong Kong government to redraft or even abandon the national security legislation. The Freedom House, a US-based non-partisan group supporting international freedom and democracy, said the deferral of the vote on the proposed legislation marked a major victory for democratic forces in Hong Kong. 'For now, at least, democratic forces have triumphed in Hong Kong,'' a statement said. Commenting on the 500,000-strong street protest on July 1, Freedom House executive director Jennifer Windsor said Hong Kong people had clearly stated that the vague and broadly defined bill would impose sweeping restrictions on freedoms. 'It is certain that the legislation would offer opportunities for the government of Hong Kong, and by extension, Beijing, to prosecute those who dare to utter legitimate criticism of officialdom,' she said. 'The Hong Kong government should abandon the legislation altogether.'' Referring to the resignation of Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun from the Executive Council, Ms Windsor noted that 'pro-Beijing elements'' were backing away from the bill. '[It] testifies to the genuine desire for more, rather than fewer, freedoms in Hong Kong,'' she said, adding that the government should redirect its efforts towards creating a more democratic system by 2007. Amnesty International said in Hong Kong that the government's concessions on police power, reporting of state secrets and the banning of local groups could not adequately protect freedom. It said it hoped the government redrafted the bill to enhance the protection of rights and civil liberties. Responding to questions from the media on the latest Article 23 controversy, Canadian Consul-General Anthony Burger said the government's amendments addressed concerns raised by Canada and other countries. 'We will continue to follow the implementation of the provisions of the Basic Law very closely,'' he said.