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10february20110112Dharamshala: High-profile human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has spoken out against the Chinese government in a secret video released by US-based campaign group 'China Aid', claiming to be under house arrest.

The hour-long video shows security guards outside Chen's home looking in at he and his wife, as Chen claims to have been confined to his home since his release from prison in September, with his phones cut off and any visitors threatened and blocked from entering. The activist then reveals "I cannot take even half a step out of my house. My wife is not allowed to leave either. Only my mother can go out and buy food to keep us going."

China Aid says it received the video from an "anonymous government friend within China". The Chinese government has not yet confirmed the state of house arrest and it is unlikely that they will do so, as such a detention would be illegal.

Chen, a blind lawyer, was imprisoned for four years on charges of damaging property and disrupting traffic after accusing authorities of carrying out over 7,000 forced abortions and sterilisations, and also offering legal aid to the victims.

He had been arbitrarily detained in 2005 after his investigative findings into family planning abuses were published on the internet and by the foreign press. He and his family was surrounded in their home and he received threats from authorities about the consequences he would face if he did not stop his activism.

Chen however refused, and soon afterwards 'disappeared' from his Shandong province home. Authorities waited three months to admit to having him in custody, during which time it is alleged by Chen that he was mistreated and threatened in prison. Legal representatives and other experts were also warned against being involved with his case.

His lawyer Li Jinsong has been questioned and harassed numerous times by police and has received anonymous phone calls warning that he was "seeking death" in choosing to represent Mr. Chen. Reports have arisen of various other lawyers and individuals being beaten following attempts to visit Mr. Chen and villagers were also imprisoned for peacefully supporting him.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month called for Mr. Chen's release along with that of imprisoned Nobel Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

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