Chinese rights activist Yu Shiwen goes on hunger strike over Tiananmen detention

Yu Shiwen and others were charged with "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble."

Chinese rights activist Yu Shiwen, who has been under detention for the last two years for organising the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest, has gone on hunger strike inside the prison.

Yu, known as the last of the "Zhengzhou 10" activists, is refusing food in protest against his prolonged pretrial detention, his wife and lawyer said, according to Radio Free Asia.

Yu Shiwen and others were charged with "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," after pro-democracy protesters marked the anniversary of the bloodshed in May 2014.

Hundreds of people were killed in a fierce Chinese crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

"He is now using [the hunger strike] as a way of expressing his indignation at being detained beyond the legally specified time limit by the Guancheng District People's Court," Yu's wife Chen Wei told RFA.

Yu's lawyer said the activist plans to refuse food until the 27th anniversary of the crackdown next month.

"He wants to go on hunger strike for a month, until June 4, but I'm not sure his health can stand it," Ma said.

The lawyer said there are concerns over Yu's health and that he had become visibly thinner. But the rights activist wants the message of his plight to get out.

The Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network said Yu suffers from cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and depression, RFA reported.