China Activist Chen Guangcheng 'Under House Arrest'

One of China's most high-profile human rights activists says he is being held under house arrest.

One of China's most high-profile human rights activists says he is being held under house In this undated file photo released by his supporters, blind activist Chen Guangcheng sits in a village in China. For months, reporters and supporters of the activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng have made the journey to his rural village in eastern China to see him after his release from prison, only to be turned away by officials or stick-waving thugs. In a country where even the wife of last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner is shut away under house arrest, Chen's disappearance was one of the more extreme.arrest.

"I've come out of a small jail and entered a bigger one," Chen Guangcheng says in the secretly shot video, released by a US-based campaign group.

These are the first comments from Mr Chen since his release from prison last September. He accused the authorities of carrying out forced abortions.

China has not confirmed that the activist is under house arrest.

'Anonymous friend'

US-based campaign group China Aid says it received the hour-long film from an "anonymous government friend inside China".

In it, Mr Chen's wife filmed what appeared to be a Chinese security agent.

He is perched on a ladder, peering into the house in Shandong province, keeping watch.

Standing in his home, the blind lawyer then describes how for the past five months he has been under 24-hour surveillance.

His phone has been cut off, and men and vehicles block access to his house. Anyone who tries to help him is threatened, he says.

"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," said the activist, who used to offer legal advice to local people.

Chinese campaigner Chen Guangcheng gained worldwide fame for exposing abuses in China's "one-child" population policy

"Mr Chen is living in miserable conditions, cut off from all outside contact, and detained illegally in his home," said Bob Fu, China Aid's founder and president.

Mr Chen has been held ever since he completed a four-year prison term in September.

He had accused local officials of coercing up to 7,000 women in his province into forced abortions or sterilisations.

But he was convicted on charges of damaging property and disrupting the traffic.

Last month US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted Mr Chen's case, calling for his release together with the jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and another detained lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

BBC