China is not a free country and Christian Bale learned that the hard way as he was attacked and roughed up by government agents as tried to visit a blind activist. Bale must have wished he was Batman when security guards punched him and dragged him away when they learned he was trying to visit Chen Guangcheng. Bale first learned of the plight of Chen, a self-taught lawyer and vocal legal advocate who was sentenced to four years’ jail for damaging property and disrupting traffic in a protest, while he was in China filming a movie earlier this year. Bale wanted to visit the activist to “shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is.”
Australian news service Ninemsn reports: Batman star Christian Bale was roughed up by a team of burly security officers in eastern China this week as he tried to visit his personal hero, a blind activist who remains under house arrest. The violent scuffle was caught on camera by the CNN news crew accompanying the Hollywood actor to Dongshigu village, where 40-year-old Chen Guangcheng has been confined to his closely guarded home since he was released from prison in September 2010.
Bale first learned of the plight of Chen, a self-taught lawyer and vocal legal advocate who was sentenced to four years’ jail for damaging property and disrupting traffic in a protest, while he was in China filming a movie earlier this year. He told CNN he wanted to visit the activist to “shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is”.
But as the news team approached the village they were stopped by four security guards at a checkpoint. CNN Beijing producer Steven Jiang, who was accompanying Bale as a translator, said the plain-clothed guards started pushing the team and yelling at them to go away after they revealed their reason for visiting.
Mr Jiang said the guards punched Bale, aiming for his camera, and tried to drag him away as he asked: “Why can I not visit this free man?” Dozens more guards soon emerged from grey minivans and joined the scuffle, before Bale and the news team escaped in their car. Video shows the minivans pursuing the team at high speeds as they left the scene.
The 37-year-old actor later said he was disappointed, but not surprised, that he was stopped from meeting his hero. Chen rose to fame in the 1990s as a legal advocate for victims of abusive practices by China’s family-planning officials, CNN reports. His supporters believe his jail sentence was a bid to silence him.
So this demonstrates the situation in China and reminds us of how lucky we are to live in the West. We enjoy rights and freedoms in America that others can only dream about.