On May 1, 2016, Lawyer Ma Lianshun visited his client, Henan dissident Yu Shiwen, in Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center and learned that on April 27, Yu had begun a hunger strike to protest 1) his prolonged pretrial detention—two years since he was first detained in May 2014—with no sign of being tried, sentenced, or released by the Guancheng District People's Court in Zhengzhou, and 2) the Supreme People’s Court’s approval to postpone his trial for a third time, in violation of legal conditions. According to Ma, on the sixth day of his hunger strike, Yu Shiwen was already having difficulty in writing.
Yu has been suffering from various health conditions while in detention including high blood pressure, thick blood, heart disease, and clinical depression. After arriving in the detention center, Yu also suffered his second stroke. Lawyer Ma is deeply concerned that his client is on hunger strike in his weakened physical state.
Yu was formally arrested in July 2014 on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” after organizing a June Fourth public memorial service. He was indicted on April 23, 2015, after which he issued a letter from detention expressing his pride in having made concrete efforts to remember the victims of June Fourth.
During the 1989 Democracy Movement, Yu Shiwen was one of the organizers of activities in Guangzhou in support of the Tiananmen protests. After the June Fourth crackdown, Yu Shiwen was detained for one and a half years. In February 2014, Yu Shiwen and his wife, Chen Wei, and others, held a public memorial near Zhao Ziyang's old home, in memory of Zhao Ziyang, Hu Yaobang, and June Fourth victims. In May 2014, the couple was arrested (Chen was later released).