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House Arrest For Hu Jia, Chinese Dissident, After Criticizing Communist Party In Sky News Interview

09/17/2013 05:23 pm ET

An outspoken Chinese dissident has been arrested following a television interview in which he criticized the country's ruling Communist Party.

Hu Jia, a prominent human rights activist and blogger, was placed under house arrest just a day after he spoke to Sky News, the outlet reports. In the interview, Jia compared China's leadership to the former Soviet government and the Nazis in Germany, pointing to the strong-arm tactics used to quell political opposition.

"This country has a regime which rules by fear," he said. "Citizens are surrounded by a wall of fear, unable to express themselves."

As HuffPost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin notes in the video above, Jia has already spent several years under house arrest after serving three years in a Chinese prison for his activism. He was first detained in December 2007 on charges of "incitement to subvert state power" after his work inspired a group of peasant farmers to demand land rights in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the New York Times reported at the time.

His latest arrest comes amid increased efforts by the Chinese government to crack down on dissenting speech at a time when social media have given renewed voice to the country's pro-democracy opposition.

"In their eyes, the Internet is out of control now and it has become a tool to reduce their political base, and subvert the ideology of the government," activist Wen Yunchao told The Guardian, noting the unfortunate effectiveness of China's harsh tactics. "It is a brutal and astute plan," he said. "At present, people do not talk."

This climate of fear has yet to silence Jia, who has continued his activist work and reporting despite years of detention and harassment. As he told Sky News following his latest arrest, such an attempt to strip him of his rights is "nothing new."

"House arrest is a norm in my life," he said. "Having freedom is abnormal for me."

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