Filmmaker and democracy activist John Shum Kin-fun, visiting the mainland for the first time in 15 years, said yesterday he was very excited to be back and was steering clear of politics. Shum, banned for 15 years in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, praised Beijing for its gesture and said he hoped the same treatment would be extended to all other activists. He received a one-off home return permit on Wednesday, and said he had been told a long-term permit would be arranged when he returned from his 10-day visit. Speaking from Shanghai, the former committee member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which is branded subversive by Beijing, said he was overjoyed to be allowed back to the mainland with his wife. Shum last visited Beijing in 1989 with other activists to aid students in the pro-democracy movement. 'I am very excited ... I am now enjoying a walkabout in downtown Shanghai,' he said. Television footage showed him taking pictures of the gleaming towers in the Pudong business district. Asked whether he would go to Tiananmen Square to pay homage to those killed in 1989, Shum said: 'I will go to Beijing but I am not here for political activities. I am here only to see how China has developed and to go sightseeing.' Pro-democracy and leftist politicians generally welcomed the development. Wang Rudeng, assistant director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, said it signalled an improvement in communication with Beijing. But veteran activist Tsang Kin-sing had his application for a permit rejected. Other democrats said they would not apply for permits.