"Batman" star Christian Bale brushed aside criticism that his new film about the Japanese invasion of Nanjing is a propaganda piece for the Chinese Communist Party. He may now have put to final rest any talk that he's beholden to China's government.
In a bold move that many foreign journalists and activists have shied away from, the British actor Bale, along with a CNN camera crew, set out to try to visit the blind human-rights law Chen Guangcheng in Shandong Province.
Chen and his family have been held under extra-legal house arrest, an entire village virtually held captive, since he was released from prison more than a year ago. Chen was initially arrested and tried after organizing villagers to protest and take legal action over forced abortions in his village.
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The dozens who have tried to visit Chen have been beaten, threatened and chased away from Linyi, where Chen lives and has not been seen since he and his wife snuck out a home video showing their life under constant surveillance.
A CNN camera crew traveled with Bale to Linyi, where the actor, who is starring in Chinese director's big budget epic about the Japanese invasion of China in the 1940s, told local thugs he wanted to visit Chen.
The result, Bale got hit and shoved by the plainclothes goons who guard the village.
"What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is," Bale told CNN as the crew drove away, security on their tail.
Bale has been in China promoting "The Flowers of War," a Zhang Yimou-directed epic about with Oscar aspirations that has come under criticism for being too nationalistic on behalf of China.
Bale's actions are a remarkable contrast to those of another Hollywood crew that recently filmed a coming-of-age Hollywood movie in Linyi, to the dismay of Chen's supporters. The writing team behind the "The Hangover" recently made a buddy movie in the city.