Batman Star Clashes with Guards on Visit to Chinese Dissident

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Batman Star Clashes with Guards on Visit to Chinese Dissident


Byline: Alistair Foster Showbusiness Correspondent

BRITISH actor Christian Bale clashed with Chinese security guards when he tried to visit an anti-government activist under house arrest.

The Batman star was hoping to see Chen Guangcheng, who has been under house arrest since serving a fouryear jail term for attacking Chinese authorities over claims women were forced to have late abortions.

But as the Oscar winner approached the house in Dongshigu village in Shandong, guards refused to allow him in, pushing and shoving the 37-year-old before frogmarching him away.

Bale was filming a documentary for news channel CNN to promote his new film, The Flowers Of War, which focuses on the 1937 Nanjing massacre where the Chinese claim 300,000 people were slaughtered by Japanese invaders. The film itself has already proved controversial as it was partly funded by state-owned Bank of China.

Many believe it to be an attempt by the Chinese government to exert "soft power" and make cultural inroads in the West. The film is based on the novel The 13 Women of Nanjing by Geling Yan and has been selected as China's entry for the best foreign language film at next year's Oscars.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer who was blinded by a fever in infancy, angered authorities after documenting forced late-term abortions and sterilisations and other abuses by authorities trying to meet population control targets in his rural community. …

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