Chinese state television has aired a confession made in detention by a Swedish co-founder of a human rights group, who says he had trained and funded unlicensed lawyers in China to take on cases against the government "in clear violation of the law."

In a 10-minute segment aired late Tuesday and early Wednesday, state broadcaster CCTV detailed how Peter Dahlin established an activist organization in Hong Kong with the help of employees from the human rights-focused Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing, whose lawyers have been recently charged with subverting state power.

Dahlin's group has called the confession "apparently forced" and rejected accusations that it manufactured or escalated conflicts inside China.