Batman Star Christian Bale Attacked Stopped in China from meeting a Blind Activist Lawyer
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Uploaded on Dec 15, 2011
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December 15, 2011, Christian Bale is in China to promote a new movie filmed there. He wanted to visit blind activist & lawyer Chen Guangcheng. Chen & his family are confined to their home by plain cloth Chinese Police. CNN's Steven Jiang was with Bale as guards thwarted the actor's efforts
DONGSHIGU VILLAGE, China (CNN) -- As Christian Bale approached an impromptu checkpoint leading to this tiny village in eastern China, four men blocking the narrow path started marching toward him in menacing unison.
"I am here to see Chen Guangcheng," the Hollywood actor said and I translated, with correspondent Stan Grant and cameraman Brad Olson next to us.
"Go away!" the plainclothes guards barked, pushing us back.
Amid the scuffling and yelling, dozens more guards in olive-green, military-style overcoats -- and two gray minivans -- emerged from the other side of the checkpoint, all coming toward us.
"Why can I not visit this free man?" Bale asked repeatedly, only to receive punches from guards aiming for his small camera as they tried to drag him away from the rest of us.
As we retreated, I recognized the ringleader -- the same burly man who had hurled rocks at the CNN team 10 months earlier to force us out of the same location.
A precarious scene ensued Thursday as one of the gray minivans chased our car at high speed on bumpy country roads for some 40 minutes.
When the dust settled, we counted a broken car, a damaged camera -- and a "Batman" star disappointed at -- but not shocked by -- his failure to see a personal hero.
"What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is," Bale said.
Christian Bale visits China as activist
The man, 40-year-old Chen Guangcheng, has been confined to his home along with his wife, mother and daughter, and watched around the clock by dozens of guards since he was released from prison in September 2010. A local court had sentenced him to more than four years in prison for damaging property and disrupting traffic in a protest.
Blind China activist recovers amid call for his release
His supporters maintain authorities used trumped-up charges to silence Chen, a blind, self-taught lawyer who rose to fame in the late 1990s thanks to his legal advocacy for what he called victims of abusive practices by China's family-planning officials.
Bale first learned about Chen through news reports, including our coverage in February, when he was in China filming "The Flowers of War," a wartime drama set in 1930s Nanjing in which he plays a mortician trying to save a group of schoolgirls from the clutches invading Japanese soldiers.
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