Xu Zhiyong: Activist speaks from Chinese jail

Xu Zhiyong in screen grab from video
Image caption Legal activist Xu Zhiyong is seen as a moderate campaigner

Jailed Chinese civil rights campaigner Xu Zhiyong has spoken out in a video message from his prison cell.

Seen handcuffed and behind bars, Mr Xu urges his compatriots to unite in pursuing democratic freedoms.

No matter how "absurd" society is, he said, "this country needs brave citizens who can stand up and hold fast to their convictions".

The legal activist was detained last month, accused of having "gathered crowds to disrupt public order".

A friend of his told the AP news agency that the video was shot by one of Mr Xu's lawyers on 1 August.

Mr Xu, seen as a moderate among Chinese rights advocates, said he was willing to "sacrifice anything" for "freedom, public good and faith," in the video by the Wall Street Journal.

The Beijing-based activist has called for government transparency and for officials to reveal their assets.

In the past he has campaigned for death row inmates and for the families affected by the baby milk poisoning scandal.

Tax evasion charges against him in 2009 were dropped after public outcry.

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