Actor Christian Bale Roughed Up, Barred From Visiting Chinese Activist

Incident could prove embarrassing to nation as it rolls out film

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Dec 16, 2011  |  Updated 10:23 AM CDT
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Actor was trying to visit blind activist.

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Actor Christian Bale was roughed up and sent packing by security guards in China when he tried to visit a blind activist who has fought the country's population control efforts.

The "Batman" actor recently filmed "The Flowers of War" in China and traveled back with a CNN crew to see Chen, who lives in isolation with his family and is guarded around the clock by workers who have blocked dozens of reporters and fellow activists from seeing him in the past.

Video shot by the CNN crew shows Bale asking to see Chen, but being ordered by one of the guards to leave. When he asked why, the guards jostled him and knocked away a camera he was carrying.

"What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is," Bale was quoted as saying by CNN.

CNN said Bale first learned of Chen from news reports when he was in China filming "The Flowers of War," China's official submission this year for best foreign language film Oscar.

Chen, a lawyer, angered authorities after documenting forced late-term abortions and sterilizations and other abuses by authorities trying to meet population control goals in his rural community.

The incident could prove embarrassing for China, whose government-controlled movie industry hopes to promote "The Flowers of War," which at $94 million, is the biggest-budget film ever made in China. The film opens in China on Friday and next week in the U.S.

The movie centers on the 1937 sacking of the eastern city of Nanjing, a central event in China's pre-revolutionary "century of humiliation" and has been described by some critics as hewing to official propaganda portraying Chinese as heroic victims and Japanese as one-dimensional cartoon villains.

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