Encouraging to see the atrocity of China’s one-child forced abortion/sterilization policy spotlighted at a New York social gala….

Press release from Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers:

New York: On Thursday actor Christian Bale presented blind forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng with an award at the annual gala of Human Rights First.

In December 2011, while Chen was still in China under house arrest, Bale attempted to visit Chen but was roughed up by thugs, who prevented him from visiting Chen’s village.   Bale said at that time, “What I really wanted to do was shake the man’s hand and say ‘thank you,’ and tell him what an inspiration he is.”

Chen dramatically escaped house arrest and arrived in the United States in May 2012.  The two men met for the first time tonight, when Bale presented Chen with the award.

Bale praised Chen for his bravery and for symbolizing the hopes of the people of China to live in freedom.  Significantly, Bale also highlighted Chen’s fight against forced abortion in China.  Bale stated,

“He [Chen] had exposed a program of forced abortion and sterilization in Shandong.  A program of forced abortion means that women are being dragged from their homes against their will.   They are being forced to have abortions, sometimes late-term – imagine that – with some women reportedly dying in the process.  Now this is true horror.  And in this insane world, this man, Chen, who was helping these women – who was living by some of the most simple, brave and universally admired values – values that we teach our children every day, and helping our fellow man – for this, this man was imprisoned and beaten for over four years.”…

“At the same time,” Littlejohn added, “Christian Bale has become a human rights champion in his own right.  He risked his safety to visit Chen last December.  His attack by Chinese thugs brought visibility to Chen’s case.  This visibility greatly helped the international effort to free Chen.  And Bale is brave to condemn the practice of forced abortion in China.  Women’s Rights Without Frontiers salutes both men.”

Video here:

More from Wall Street Journal:

The annual dinner sponsored by Human Rights First was held at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers in New York City and hosted by Meredith Vieira….

The star of the night was Mr. Chen, a self-taught lawyer who has drawn attention to human rights abuses in China, in one case bringing a class action lawsuit against officials in the Shandong Province for brutal enforcement of the one-child policy. Consequently, he and his family have been subjected to torture and imprisonment by the Chinese government.

Mr.  Bale had the honor of introducing Mr. Chen and presenting his award. The actor played a clip from his attempt to visit Mr. Chen in December, during which he brought along members of the press. At the time, Mr. Chen was under house arrest and Mr. Bale and the crew were forcibly turned away. Even though they knew they were unlikely to meet Mr. Chen, Mr. Bale hoped to draw attention to Mr. Chen’s story. Mr. Bale joked that his efforts were successful to some, while others just enjoyed seeing a “stupid actor get roughed up.”

Chen Guangcheng embraced Mr. Bale and was moved to tears when accepting the award.

[Photo via WSJ]