Tiananmen leader and veteran labour activist Han Dongfang has joined Hong Kong's Democratic Party because he shares the view it took last summer on negotiating with Beijing over constitutional reform. Han, who was a workers' leader during the bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Beijing in 1989, said the acceptance of the party's reform proposal was 'historic' because it was the first time the Communist Party had engaged in negotiations with pan-democrats. Moderate democrats struck a deal with Beijing in June, supporting the government's political reform scheme in return for concessions on direct elections of new seats. 'While negotiations do not always yield results, the fact that both sides accepted negotiation as a way to settle differences is very important,' Han said in a media interview. 'This is a fundamental breakthrough.' Han - who has become a permanent Hong Kong resident since the handover, following his release from jail in 1991 and a brief stint in the United States - has long been involved in pushing for the rights of mainland workers through the China Labour Bulletin group based in Hong Kong. 'I found [the Hong Kong Democrats] a party with wisdom, willing to shoulder responsibility and courageous. It can stand firm on its principles but still compromise, and the most important thing is not to let go of the principles,' he said. The party has been under intense criticism from pan-democrat allies for negotiating with the central government's liaison office, despite initial opposition by the government to adopting its compromised reform proposal. Beijing gave the green light at the last minute to the creation of five new Legco functional constituency seats for district councillors, who will be returned in 2012 by more than 3 million voters. Seeing the Democrats' change of tactics, Han said he felt moved and identified with the party's vision. He contacted party secretary general Chan Ka-wai who, together with party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, nominated him for membership. Han said he had no plans to contest the party leadership election later this year or run for a district council or Legco seat. 'I hope my perspective as a mainlander and labour activist can help the party see things from another angle,' he said. 'But my passion is always on labour rights, and I will devote most of my time to running the bulletin.'