Actor Christian Bale was physically confronted by government guards when he tried to visit a blind activist lawyer being illegally confined to his home. Bale is actually in China to promote the nation's submission for the Best Foreign Language category at the next Academy Awards, which he stars in.
According to The New York Times, Chen Guangcheng has been under an unoffical house arrest in Shandong province since September of last year, after being released from a four-and-a-half year prison sentence. He ran afoul of government authorities after he began defending women who were victims of forced sterilization and abortions as part of the country's family planning efforts. The trial was seen as a farce by other activists, none of whom have been allowed to visit Chen since he was released. Bale was not the first to try and fail to gain access to Chen's home, but he took along a CNN camera crew who recorded the incident. You can see the video below.
Bale is starring in "The Flowers of War," about the 1930s occupation of Nanking by the Japanese army, which was called a "second Holocaust" in the book "The Rape of Nanking." That book claims that as many as 300,000 Chinese civilians were been raped or murdered by the Japanese military, claims that some Japanese say are exaggerated or even fabricated. The film was partially financed by the Chinese government and has been criticized by some as overt propaganda and hostile to Japan. It opens in the U.S. next week, but having a movie's biggest backers publicly embarrassed by its star is not the kind of publicity you typically want for your Oscar campaign.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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