A democracy activist confined to a mental hospital since he spoke out about the Tiananmen Square crackdown has been sent more than 800 Christmas cards from overseas well-wishers. The steady flow of letters appears to be a result of media stories about the plight of Wang Wanxing. But although government authorities have not stopped the cards from reaching the 53-year-old at Ankang Hospital in Beijing, they have not hinted at releasing him, said his wife, Wang Junying. The 823 Christmas cards began arriving in early November from Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the United States and other largely Christian countries, said Ms Wang, who is a Christian. They were mostly sent by teachers, nurses and clergy members, she said. The youngest person to write a card was a nine-year-old girl. Ms Wang said that last year 'a few' cards reached her husband, but thanks to reports this year, the number of cards had surged. 'In this hospital, looking at all these letters on a table, I was nervous,' Ms Wang said. But no one interfered, she said, and the only problem had been finding somebody to translate the cards into Chinese. After being told that he had received more than 800 cards, her husband was very happy, Ms Wang said. 'His first sentence was that after the New Year he would still be receiving cards,' she said. 'I really appreciate these friends giving this help to us.' On June 3, 1992, Wang was arrested for taking a banner and audiotapes to Tiananmen Square. His family - including his 21-year-old daughter who now lives in Germany - was held for questioning, and he was sent to the mental hospital for an examination. Since then, he has lived in a bunk with access to a radio and a Bible. He is allowed to exercise, and his spirits are 'okay', said Ms Wang. He has no major health problems and she is allowed to visit him once a month.