Activist John Shum sets Beijing officials straight during his first visit for 15 years Film director and pro-democracy activist John Shum Kin-fun, who visited the mainland for the first time in 15 years this month, told senior mainland officials that democrats have never wanted Hong Kong to become independent. During the meeting he also expressed hopes that mainland officials would grant home-return permits to democrats and that it would re-evaluate its verdict on the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, he said yesterday. Mr Shum, who had been banned from crossing the border for 15 years since the crackdown, returned to Hong Kong on Saturday after a 10-day visit to Beijing and Shanghai. He received a one-off home-return permit on July 7 and was told a formal home-return permit would be arranged when he returned from his visit. He said mainland friends had arranged a meeting with officials dealing with Hong Kong affairs but he refused to say who. '[I told the officials that] according to my understanding, none of my friends in the Democratic Party would like to see Hong Kong go independent,' he said. 'There exists no problem of declaring Hong Kong as independent. 'I don't care how others view the democrats, but I understand them very much. 'The officials laughed and I guess they actually know about it [the democrats' view].' Mr Shum said the officials had been sincere and courteous. 'The officials are willing to take in different views although they might not agree,' he said. 'They felt that communication in the past was inadequate and had to be strengthened. 'We talked about almost everything ... When I knew the officials could not really discuss a topic, I expressed my views and then switched to another topic. 'If I know clearly that the other party is talking about coffee and I am talking about tea, I should let the other party drink coffee. Why should I force them to drink tea?' Mr Shum said he would continue to attend events calling for the re-evaluation of the crackdown and to mourn for those who died demonstrating for democracy in Tiananmen Square. 'I will be persistent and of course I support the vindication of June 4th,' he said. 'I guess the mainland government will do something about it when the time is ripe.' Mr Shum was a former standing committee member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. Beijing has branded the alliance subversive. He last went to Beijing in 1989 with a number of other activists to aid students in the pro-democracy movement. Pro-democracy and leftist politicians have generally welcomed the development.