Batman movie star Christian Bale traveled nine hours from Beijing to visit blind forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng, who has been sentenced to home confinement by local Chinese family planning officials.
Bale never got the chance. He was roughed up and forced away from Chen’s village, according to a CNN report. Bale was in Beijing, China for the premier of “The Flowers of War,” a drama about the 1937 Rape of Nanjing and he decided to break away from the official visit to try to find Chen, who exposed massive campaigns of forced abortions and sterilizations of thousands to the western world several years ago.
Chen was eventually imprisoned for nearly four years on bogus charges and he has repeatedly been beaten and attacked by family planning officials enforcing the nation’s one-child policy since his release. Reports surfaced in recent weeks that Chen had been killed and then new reports claimed he was still alive.
About his attempt to visit Chen, Bale stated, “I’m not brave doing this . . . This was just a situation — I can’t look the other way.”
“What I really wanted to do was shake the man’s hand and say ‘thank you,’ and tell him what an inspiration he is,” Bale said.
Steven Jiang, a Chinese translator accompanying Bale, talked about what happened:
As Christian Bale approached an impromptu checkpoint leading to this tiny village in eastern China, four men blocking the narrow path started marching toward him in menacing unison. “I am here to see Chen Guangcheng,” the “Dark Knight” actor said and I translated, with correspondent Stan Grant and cameraman Brad Olson next to us.
“Go away!” the plainclothes guards barked, pushing us back.
Amid the scuffling and yelling, dozens more guards in olive-green, military-style overcoats — and two gray minivans — emerged from the other side of the checkpoint, all coming toward us. “Why can I not visit this free man?” Bale asked repeatedly, only to receive punches from guards aiming for his small camera as they tried to drag him away from the rest of us.
As we retreated, I recognized the ringleader — the same burly man who had hurled rocks at the CNN team 10 months earlier to force us out of the same location. A precarious scene ensued Thursday as one of the gray minivans chased our car at high speed on bumpy country roads for some 40 minutes. When the dust settled, we counted a broken car, a damaged camera — and a Hollywood star disappointed at — but not shocked by — his failure to see a personal hero.
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, talked with LifeNews about bale’s attempt to see the human rights activist.
“Christian Bale is right that the true heroes are the Chinese citizens who have been beaten and detained trying to visit Chen, and yet Bale is a hero as well. He is starring in the most expensive film ever made in China, which China hopes will win an Academy Award. Nevertheless, he has the courage to stand against official injustice and has greatly raised the visibility of Chen’s case,” she said.
Littlejohn contrasted Bale’s actions with those of Relativity Media.
She said, “Christian Bale has used his star power to shine a light on the unjust treatment of Chen Guangcheng. In contrast, Relativity Media filmed ’21 and Over’ in Linyi, where Chen is languishing under house arrest. They did nothing to help Chen. I hope that moviegoers will demonstrate their concern for Chen Guangcheng at the box office by boycotting ’21 and Over.'”
Christian Bale is not the only one who has focused attention on Chen Guangcheng. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke have both recently spoken on his behalf.
Littlejohn said the flow of Chinese citizens to visit Chen despite the risk of beatings and detention has increased and the Chinese and international “Sunglasses” campaigns, have raised the visibility of Chen’s case as well.
Chen Guangcheng exposed the systematic use of forced abortion and sterilization in Linyi City in 2005. For four years and three months, he was jailed, tortured and denied medical treatment. Since his release he has languished under strict house arrest.