Update: Chen Guangcheng and his wife were reportedly “beaten senseless” just before the release of the video. Read more here.

February 10, 2011 ( – In the first news of blind Chinese anti-one child policy activist Chen Guangcheng in five months, on Wednesday a video was released showing the persecution he and his family are suffering at the hands of the Chinese government, which has put him under illegal house arrest since his release from prison.

In the video, Chen, who appears to be in good spirits, thanks his supporters “from all circles of the world,” and describes being monitored daily by three shifts of agents with each shift consisting of 22 people.

“My house is basically under surveillance 24 hours a day and we can’t get out of the house at all. Only my mother can go out to get something for us to eat and stay alive,” says Chen.

The video opens with a shot of a man, a government agent, peering over a makeshift barrier of corn stalks set up by Chen’s wife to block the view into their house.

“Every day they do this to my family,” whispers his wife, Yuan Weijing, as a rooster occasionally crows in the background. “They are ordered to keep watch over what my family is doing every day.

“Every day it is like this. Those people stand at the four corners of my house and spy on my family and monitor what we do.”

The video was taken recently at Chen’s farm home in coastal Shandong province and was provided to the human rights group ChinaAid by what the group says is a “reliable government source who is sympathetic to Chen’s cause and outraged by the treatment of Chen.” He has requested anonymity for his protection.

In the video, Chen and his wife Yuan Weijing, as well as their son Chen Kesi, appeal to the Chinese people and the international community to work together for a more equal China where there is justice and the rule of law. They also vow to continue their fight despite the extreme hardship and continuous brutal treatment by the Chinese regime even after Chen’s release from unjust imprisonment.

Chen finished serving a four-year, three-month sentence on Sept. 9, 2010 for exposing the truth behind China’s family planning policy and its large-scale government practice of forced abortions and returned home to find himself subject to house arrest conditions. There has been no news from or about him since Sept. 13.

When he was released from prison he was in extremely poor health, due to beatings and other mistreatment that he received.

“Chen Guangcheng is a hero to many people around the world, a peaceful advocate for human rights and a defender of society’s most vulnerable, its woman and children,” said Bob Fu of ChinaAid, who is in Washington to discuss human rights and religious freedom with U.S. political and religious leaders. “The world community should act to secure his unconditional release. We cannot believe that China is serious about the rule of law when Chen Guangcheng, Gao Zhisheng and other rights advocates are jailed, disappeared, or harassed.”

Chen, a self-taught blind lawyer from the Linyi area of Shandong province, was imprisoned for exposing the violence used in enforcing the family planning policy in Linyi and providing legal assistance to peasants in 2005.  In January 2007, he was found guilty of “intentional destruction of property and gathering a mob to disturb traffic” at a hearing from which his lawyer and witnesses were absent because the lawyer had been beaten up and the witnesses kidnapped so that they could not appear in court.

In 2006, Time magazine named Chen Guangcheng “one of the 100 people most influential in shaping our world.” He also was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and many other international human rights awards.

Since the fall of 2005, his wife has been under various forms of surveillance and has been beaten on several occasions. During the entire 4 1/2 years that Chen spent in detention and imprisonment, his wife was allowed to visit him only three times, even though Chinese law stipulates that prisoners get monthly family visits.