Chen, left, and Bale (Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)
"The Dark Knight Rises" actor couldn't have been happier to see a Chinese dissident who he wanted to meet late last year -- but was prevented from doing so by Chinese security officers who pushed the 38-year-old actor around. (Bale described the incident on CNN just after it occurred.)
Watch video of Bale confronting Chinese security officers last year:
Flash forward to Wednesday night in New York where Bale was brought to tears when he finally got to meet activist Chen Guangcheng and give him a Human Rights First award. The two embraced on stage as Chen, who is blind, became overwhelmed with emotion.
At one point Bale lightened the mood, joking about Chen's escape from China to the U.S., saying, "Steve McQueen and the Great Escape have got nothing on Chen."
A lawyer, Chen was punished by the Chinese government after documenting and speaking out against injustices in the country, including alleged forced abortions.
Bale sought to meet him, along with a CNN camera crew, last December when Chen was on house arrest. The actor drove eight hours from Beijing -- where he was celebrating the premiere of his film "Flowers of War" -- to Dongshigu. There he was met by a group of unidentified Chinese security officers. The officers clearly did not want Bale and the crew getting close to Chen, deterring them with physical force. When Bale and the crew decided to leave peacefully, the officers continued to chase them by car.
Chen escaped house arrest earlier this year, seeking refuge at China's U.S. embassy, which ignited a diplomatic crisis. Chen was eventually allowed to leave China with his family and now resides in New York where he is studying law at NYU. He also has a memoir due out next year.
Watch video of Chinese activist Chen and actor Bale in New York on Wednesday:
- Politics & Government
- Christian Bale
- Chen Guangcheng