The central government is considering more flexible policies towards Hong Kong due to the serious challenge to 'one country, two systems' presented by opposition to the National Security Bill. It has also told Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa that he and his administration need to show more flexibility in making and executing policies, sources said. But for the immediate future the central government has decided not to get publicly involved in the crisis, in the hope tensions will be defused before the Tung administration considers when to bring back before the Legislative Council the controversial bill aimed at implementing Article 23 of the Basic Law. The article requires Hong Kong to pass laws to outlaw treason, subversion, secession and other threats to national security, but harsh provisions in the bill prompted half a million people to take to the streets on July 1 to oppose its passage. Informed observers said there were no signs the central government was considering more drastic action, such as reshuffling the Hong Kong Macau Affairs Office in Beijing and the Central Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong, as has been reported. They said the central government was still behind Mr Tung's administration. The primary concern at this point, they said, was to ensure the stability of Hong Kong, and a premature reshuffle would be seen as sending the wrong message. The observers said both governments had seriously misjudged the developments which led to the current crisis and must learn from their mistakes. They said officials in Beijing and Hong Kong underestimated the level of discontent brewing over the state of the economy and Mr Tung's capabilities. Both sides also showed a lack of flexibility by trying to push through the anti-subversion bill despite growing public resistance. There was a failure in the consultation process to listen to groups which expressed strong concerns over aspects of the bill. One analyst said that an important weapon of the Communist Party was its skill in building a united front by soliciting sympathy and support from as many interest groups as possible. But with Article 23, it was not until after the crisis was in full swing that officials were sent to Hong Kong to measure the public mood. Officials in Beijing and Hong Kong were seen as helpless, caught off guard by the crisis and unable to react swiftly and coherently to developments. Looking ahead, analysts said the central government was likely to offer more political and economic support to help Mr Tung and his administration ride out the storm. The central government is said to be concerned the crisis in Hong Kong will have serious implications in Taiwan, where many mistrust the 'one country, two systems' formula. The flexibility shown to Hong Kong could be extended to Taiwan, some analysts said.