Hollywood actor Christian Bale has honored a Chinese dissident with a human rights award for his work exposing injustices in China, including alleged forced abortions carried out by the government, at a ceremony event in New York on Wednesday.
Bale presented Chen Guangcheng, who is blind, with the Human Rights First award, just months after the actor was blocked by Chinese officials from visiting the activist at his home in China where he was kept under house arrest, Yahoo News reported.
"I have not been officially trained in the law. But one doesn't need to go to a special school to understand injustice. No one with a conscience can stand by while innocent people are bullied and beaten until they bleed," Bale said at the ceremony, translating Chang's words while standing next to the human rights activist on stage.
Chen had visited the U.S. with his wife and two children earlier this year, with supporters urging the government to grant him citizenship so that he can stay in the country and not have to go back to China, where the government is unhappy with his work exposing forced abortions and other controversial activities. Chen has also been an inspirational figure for China's underground Christians, who live in fear of persecution from the government.
Chen had escaped house arrest in Linyi in China's eastern Shandong province before flying out to America, telling supporters in a video message:
"I finally escaped. All the stories about the brutal treatment I have received from the authorities, I can personally testify they are all true."
Bale, who documented how he was pushed around by Chinese guards when he tried to visit Chen at his home, said of his experience at the time:
"What I really wanted to do was shake the man's hand and say 'thank you,' and tell him what an inspiration he is."
The movie star had been in Beijing, which is eight hours away, to celebrate the premiere of his film "Flowers of War", which is about persecution in China at the hands of Japanese soldiers during the 1937 invasion.
"Chen Guangcheng is a towering champion of human rights, who with incomparable courage, stood alone against the Chinese totalitarian regime. The women of China and the world will long remember his bravery on their behalf," said Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women's Rights Without Frontiers.
Littlejohn also commended the Batman actor for helping to put the spotlight on Chen's story and stand up for human rights.
"Christian Bale has become a human rights champion in his own right. He risked his safety to visit Chen last December. His attack by Chinese thugs brought visibility to Chen's case. This visibility greatly helped the international effort to free Chen. And Bale is brave to condemn the practice of forced abortion in China. Women's Rights Without Frontiers salutes both men," he said.