China activist Chen Guangcheng 'beaten'

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A prominent Chinese activist and his wife are reported to have been beaten following the release of a video showing their house arrest.

Chen Guangcheng and his wife, Yuan Weijin, were badly injured by security officials, according to the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

It says the beating came after the release of a secretly shot film showing Mr Chen as a prisoner in his own home.

He said he has been under surveillance since his release from jail last year.

Mr Chen - a blind man who is one of China's best-known activists - was imprisoned after claiming the authorities had carried out forced abortions.

'Not life threatening'

Chinese Human Rights Defenders told the BBC that a trusted source informed the organisation about the attack.

"The person said the beating was related to the video that was released," said the defenders' spokeswoman Wang Songlian.

"The beating was not light, but not life-threatening either."

She added that the source had said Mr Chen and his wife had not been allowed to get medical treatment.

The BBC could not independently verify the claims made by the organisation.

The film showing Mr Chen under house arrest was released by the US-based campaign group China Aid

In it the activist said: "I've come out of a small jail and entered a bigger one."

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

"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.

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, Shandong, into forced abortions or sterilisations.

He was convicted though of damaging property and disrupting the traffic.

Last month the US Secretary of State Hilary 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.

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