Spending a long time behind bars can be demoralising, but for Chen Ziming the jail time was not completely wasted, thanks largely to his devoted wife. To make sure he remained well connected with the outside world, Wang Zhihong would visit an intellectual before each visit to her husband. The intellectuals would talk on a wide variety of subjects that she barely understood. 'I would use a tape recorder or notebook to write down what they said and tried my best to memorise it because I wasn't allowed to take paper or a pen with me when I visited my husband,' she said. Ms Wang also took her husband food from McDonald's and other foreign fast-food chains. 'Those restaurants did not exist before he went to jail. I wanted to show him what a burger looked like.' McDonald's opened its first mainland outlet in Shenzhen in 1990, a few months before Mr Chen was imprisoned.