Christian Bale decided that he wanted to visit a humanitarian in Dongshigu village who has been detained in his own home for 15 months. Bale traveled from the city of Beijing to visit the Chen Guangcheng.
Chen Guangcheng is a blind human rights campaigner in the People’s Republic of China. He has drawn international attention to human rights violations in China. Guangcheng was first placed under house arrest in September of 2005 after talking with Time magazine about the forced abortion cases he had investigated. He was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for damaging property and disrupting traffic in a protest. He was released last September. However, activists say that although Guangcheng was released from prison he is still being held on house arrest.
The Dark Knight actor wanted to visit Guangcheng to shake his hand. He told CNN, “What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is.” Instead Bale was turned away forcefully by security guards.
Video footage of Bale’s attempted to see Mr. Chen shows the star asking security guards repeatedly, “Why can I not visit this free man?” With the security guards answering, “Go away!”
According to CNN, Bale and the CNN crew he was with were forcefully pushed away and then chased by a gray minivan at high speeds over bumpy country roads for 40 minutes.
Bale claimed he wasn’t being a hero by attempting to visit Guangcheng, but he did want to bring attention to the plight of the humanitarian. He said, “This doesn’t come naturally to me, this is not what I actually enjoy — it isn’t about me. But this was just a situation that said I can’t look the other way.”
The Machinist star decided to visit Mr. Chen while in China to promote his film, “The Flowers of War,” a drama about the massacre of Chinese by the Japanese at Nanjing. Bale read up on the blind activist and was quickly drawn into the humanitarian’s plight.
Although, Guangcheng was released from imprisonment after alleging the government was guilty of forced abortions through China’s one-child policy in 2010 he still appears to be under house arrest. His village is patrolled night and day by dozens of guards, his phone and internet lines have been cut, and he has been confined to his home with his wife, mother and daughter.
Bale joins a growing list of Chen supporters in the U.S which includes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American ambassador to China, Gary Locke. His visit was meant to raise international awareness about the way the blind humanitarian is being treated. With stories on CNN, BBC and The Telegraph, his visit is doing just that.