Actor Christian Bale was roughed up by Chinese police as he attempted to visit blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng whose detention has sparked a domestic and international outcry, CNN reported on Friday (video below).
Bale, who plays the crime-fighting superhero Batman, and a camera crew from CNN were jostled by men in plainclothes from Dongshigu village in eastern Shandong province, where Chen has been under house arrest for 15 months.
Chen angered Shandong officials in 2005 by exposing a program of forced abortions as part of China's one-child policy.
"Why can I not visit this man?" Bale asked several security officers, while they were pushing him.
"You know, I'm not being brave doing this," Bale told CNN. "The local people who are standing up to the authorities and insisting on going to visit Chen and his family and getting beaten up for it, and my understanding, getting detained for it and everything. I want to support what they are doing."
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CNN said that Bale, who is in China for the premiere of his latest film "The Flowers of War," approached the news network to try to meet Chen. They took an eight-hour car journey to Chen's village from Beijing.
"This doesn't come naturally to me," Bale said to CNN. "But this was just a situation, I said, I can't look the other way."
"What I really wanted to do is to shake the man's hand and say: 'Thank you,' and tell him what an inspiration he is," Bale told CNN.