News / Asia

China Criticizes Actor Christian Bale for Failed Dissident Visit

In this photo taken on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, actor Christian Bale, center, is led by security guards upon arrival for an event of the Zhang Yimou-directed movie
In this photo taken on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, actor Christian Bale, center, is led by security guards upon arrival for an event of the Zhang Yimou-directed movie "The Flowers of War" in Beijing, China.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says acclaimed British actor Christian Bale should "feel embarrassed" after his failed attempt last week to visit a detained Chinese dissident while touring the People's Republic.

Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin, speaking Wednesday in Beijing, accused the Academy Award-winning Bale of "fabricating news" when he made international headlines with attempts to visit a blind Chinese lawyer-dissident under house arrest. "China did not invite him to some village in Shandong to create news or make a film.  If he went there to create news, I don't think that would be welcomed in China," he said.

Bale was stopped December 15 on the outskirts of a village in eastern China where activist Chen Guangcheng is being detained. Television crews from CNN International accompanied Bale on the visit and recorded the event

Bale was in China to promote his film about the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, called "The Flowers of War."  

Dissident Chen has been under house arrest for more than a year, since serving a prison term of more than four years for his alleged role in instigating an attack on government offices in his rural community.  The community unrest followed Chen's documentation in 2006 of harsh population control measures imposed by authorities on locals, including forced abortions and sterilizations.

VOA's blog China Wangre has taken a look at some of the online reaction in China to the Christian Bale story.

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