Friday, December 16, 2011
My new hero: Christian Bale
Actor Christian Bale is my new hero. While in China to promote his film, The Flowers of War, Bale decided to make a side trip. A mere 8-hour car ride later, he was assaulted by plain-clothes security officers who refused to identify themselves (photo above). His crime was trying to visit pro-life activist, Chen Guancheng. Unfortunately for the Chinese government, Bale was accompanied by a CNN crew. After the guards slugged, shoved and pushed, they gave chase in a grey minivan for more than half an hour. The publicity will not help Beijing which has set Bale's film as its entry for the Oscars.
Chen, who is blind, was arrested in 2006 for his work exposing the government's use of coercive family planning and violent force in efforts to enforce the "one child" policy. Today, Chen remains under strict house arrest and there are serious concerns about his health. No on is allowed to see him and his case has been raised at the highest levels, including by Secretary Clinton.
In video shot in the vehicle on the way back to Beijing, Bale looks ill at ease. He said on camera, "This doesn't come naturally to me. But this was just a situation (pause) I couldn't look the other way." "What I really wanted was to shake the man's hand and say, Thank you, and tell him what an inspiration he is." Further in the video Bale says, "I'm not being brave, doing this. The local people who are standing up to the authorities and insisting on going to visit Chen and his family, and going and getting beaten up for it ... I want to support what they are doing." As Bale also observes, China seem to be terrified of this blind man, which shows an intrinsic weakness in the fabric of the country.
Shandong province, where Chen lives, appears to be particularly brutal in its pursuit of population control. Villagers have been known to sleep in the fields to avoid family planning officials. Recent reports have them stabbing a man to death and forcing two family members to beat each other. A woman died during a forced abortion at six months of pregnancy. They have also detained, fined and tortured extended family members of suspected policy violators.
Thanks to the tireless work of other heroes like Reggie Littlejohn and Steven Mosher, the spotlight on China's repressive and murderous government will not dim soon. Actions like Bale's help intensify public attention on the human rights abuses of the Beijing regime. So go see the new Batman movie as well as Flowers of War, to support Bale. And please follow the work of Population Research Institute and Women's Rights Without Frontiers to keep yourself informed.
For further information:
Story and video here: The Blaze
From Women's Rights Without Frontiers: The Chen Guancheng Report