Oscar-winning actor Christian Bale suffered a nasty brush with Chinese guards who forcibly blocked him and a CNN crew from visiting a blind lawyer-dissident being held under house arrest.
Roughed up: On his way to meet activist Chen Guangcheng, Chinese guards stopped Christian Bale and attacked the actor. After the assault, the guards chased him for more than 40 minutes. Pic/AFP
Bale, who is in China to promote his upcoming Nanjing Massacre film The Flowers of War, was stopped on the outskirts of the village in eastern China where the activist Chen Guangcheng is being detained.
Bale, who describes Chen as a personal "inspiration", invited a CNN crew to accompany him. The guards aimed punches at Bale and the crew.
"Why can I not visit this free man?" Bale asked repeatedly, as the guards tried to snatch a camera from the star.
The actor and CNN crew returned to their van but were then chased down roads by the guards in another vehicle for 40 minutes, resulting in damage to the van. "I'm not being brave doing this," said Bale.
"The local people who are standing up to the authorities, who are visiting Chen and his family and getting beaten up for it... I want to support what they're doing," he said.
Bale's longtime publicist Jennifer Allen said, "His going to this village to see this man was a totally personal decision. He'd been following the story and was moved by it and wanted to do whatever he could."