Cool. I have new found respect for the man. From the Los Angeles Times, today:

All Christian Bale wanted to do was tell a guy thank you, he said – but instead he got roughed up by a pack of apparent security guards and chased away from the home where a Chinese dissident has been held under house arrest for months.

“What I really wanted to do was shake the man’s hand and say thank you, tell him what an inspiration he is,” Bale said after the incident, which concluded with his party’s van being chased down the road by guards who jumped into their own vehicle and followed for more than half an hour.

“The man” Bale referred to is Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer and activist who has worked against China’s methods for enforcing its one-child policy – think forced abortion and sterilization. According to World Now, he has been kept under unofficial house arrest with his wife, mother and young daughter since September, when he was released after four years in prison related to charges he said he was not guilty of.

It was at that house that Bale was confronted and manhandled.

CNN caught it all on video…


MSM coverage of the incident has been interesting.

LA Times blog World Now rightfully described Chen as a “human rights activist” in the first paragraph. It is not until the 9th of 11th paragraph did WN explain the specific human rights Guangcheng is championing against were “forced abortions and sterilizations,” an outcome of China’s one-child policy.

Similarly, The Guardian called Chen a “human rights lawyer,” waiting until the 7th paragraph to say “Chen angered authorities by helping women who had suffered forced abortions and sterilisations.”

CNN’s story never mentioned the word “abortion,” saying Chen got into trouble for trying to help “victims of abusive practices of China’s family-planning officials.

Neither did the Huffington Post utter the A-word, calling Chen a “women’s rights activist.”

The Associated Press opened its story by calling Chen “a blind activist,” although in the 6th paragraph getting the story right, stating Chen “angered authorities after documenting forced late-term abortions and sterilizations and other abuses by overzealous authorities trying to meet population control goals in his rural community.”

Good for Bale. What he did came at some risk to himself and his career, as reported Reuters:

CNN said that Mr. Bale, in China for the premiere of his latest film The Flowers of War made by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, approached the news network to try to meet Mr. Chen.

They took an eight-hour car journey to Mr. Chen’s village from Beijing.

“This doesn’t come naturally to me,” Mr. Bale said to CNN. “But this was just a situation, I said, I can’t look the other way.”…

It was not clear if the incident would have any impact on The Flowers of War, which is China’s Oscar entry for next year, or the release of Mr. Bale’s new Batman film in the country….

Mr. Bale said: “It’s amazing that a superpower like China is actually terrified of this man and shows such an intrinsic weakness within the fabric of the country.”

“This kind of treatment… represents the power structure and their attitudes towards their own citizens, which is disgusting,” he said.

Internet users took to the Twitter-like microblogging service Weibo to applaud Mr. Bale’s visit to see the “blind man”. Authorities have blocked searches for “Chen Guangcheng.”…

As a young boy, Mr. Bale starred in Empire of the Sun, a film set in the Second World War about a British family in Shanghai.

Pro-Life activist Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights without Frontiers has championed Chen’s case.

[Top photo via The Globe and Mail]

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