Chinese Officials Chastise Bale For Attempting Activist Meeting

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December 21, 2011 | 6:00pm EST

Chinese officials have lambasted Christian Bale for attempting to meet with an activist under house arrest, insisting the actor should feel ashamed because he was “not invited” to the country to court controversy.
The Batman Begins star hit the headlines last week after making an eight-hour car journey from Beijing to visit blind human rights campaigner Chen Guangcheng with a CNN news team.

The group was stopped at a checkpoint near the village of Dongshigu, where Bale and the camera crew were harassed by plain-clothed officers and turned away.

In video footage of the incident, Bale can be heard asking through a translator, “Why can I not visit this man?” as the guards attempted to grab the team’s cameras.

The actor then returned to his vehicle to leave, but the authorities refused to let him out of their sight and pursued him in a van for more than half an hour.

During the chase, Bale explains his motivation for the visit, insisting, “What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is.

“I’m not brave doing this. The local people who are standing up to the authorities, who are visiting Chen and his family and getting beaten or detained, I want to support them…”

The Chinese government has now addressed Bale’s complaints, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin attacking the actor for overstepping his welcome.

Asked by reporters if China’s leader was embarrassed by the bad publicity, Liu claimed it should be Bale who is red-faced because he was only invited to the country by director Zhang Yimou to promote their new movie, The Flowers of War.

Liu said, “He was not invited to create a story or shoot film in a certain village. I think if you want to make up news in China, you will not be welcome here.”

Chen, who has campaigned against government-ordered sterilisation and abortion, has been detained in his home for the past 15 months.