Shenzhen resident Chen Shuwei has filed 187 lawsuits against three major telecommunications companies - China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom - in the past five years. The 36-year-old has lost most of the lawsuits - which targeted unfair contract terms - but gained overnight celebrity when he submitted a profane, one-character petition against the rulings. He was detained for 15 days last month. Why did you file so many lawsuits against telecoms operators? I filed the first lawsuit against China Mobile in 2004 over a trap clause. The operator charged me an extra 100 yuan (HK$113) for long-distance calls after I paid for a package which promised 2,000 minutes of unlimited calls but in ambiguous terms. I lost the case and was ordered to pay 16,000 yuan in legal fees. I brought more lawsuits against the country's main telecoms operators when I realised millions of people were being overwhelmed as well. Fighting for the public takes time and money. I closed my electronic appliance company in 2005 and spent some 320,000 yuan of savings on the lawsuits. Have you ever won a lawsuit? Only four of them. I filed all the lawsuits in Shenzhen's Futian district court, where the companies' local headquarters are. But the court once deprived me of my procedural rights for nearly two years, saying my endless lawsuits and petitions were harassing them. I believe the court handed down biased rulings because the telecoms operators later amended their contracts to avoid further lawsuits. So far, the only compensation I have received was from China Unicom. It paid me 3,000 yuan after losing a case. Why did you submit a profanity as a petition? The losing streak upset me after spending five years and most of my savings fighting for customers' rights. I filed the profanity as a petition on March 20 because there was no outlet for me to vent my rage at the judicial system and telecoms monopolists. How did that petition change your life? I was detained by the district court for 15 days from April 23 for 'insulting judicial officers and trampling on the national judicatory system'. But I wasn't aware that I had become an overnight celebrity after the detention. Were you abused during the detention? Not at all. Prison officers treated me very well and the head of the detention centre even chatted with me about the controversial petition. They sent me to a cell to eat and sleep with 15 other detainees. The only unfair thing was they deprived me of my right to have visitors, which other detainees have. How did netizens support you? I was overwhelmed by sympathy from netizens nationwide who are also angered by the telecoms monopolists. They made T-shirts with the huge, foul word that I put in my petition and an English slogan 'Say No Is My Right'. I have been told that the T-shirts were popular among young people and even some foreigners living in Guangdong. Newspaper columnists and commentators condemned the detention after it became one of the hottest topics in chat rooms. A Shanghai lawyer contacted me to offer legal assistance. Will you continue your lawsuits? I'm afraid not. I spent five precious years and all my savings pursuing justice for ordinary customers. I believe the cases raised public awareness of consumer rights, which was my goal. Meanwhile, the telecoms companies have amended clauses where necessary. I'll probably restart my business and file a few lawsuits when I have time. My mother is desperate for me to get married as I'm already too old to be a bachelor in traditional Chinese people's eyes. Actually, even though I've been a Communist Party member for 11 years, the five-year experience has made me an ardent disciple of Buddhism. I felt helpless when I had to handle the lawsuits all by myself. It's depressing when you know the difficulties of pursuing your rights in a communist country which promises beautiful pictures in its constitution.