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Bale rapped over activist visit bid

Christian Bale should feel embarrassed for trying to visit an activist while he was in the country to promote a film which China has submitted for an Oscar, a Chinese government spokesman has said.

The Welsh-born actor was physically prevented by government-backed guards from visiting blind activist Chen Guangcheng in eastern China last week. A CNN crew he was travelling with recorded the scuffle.

Asked whether the publicity has been embarrassing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said that he thought Bale should feel embarrassed, not China.

He said the actor was invited by director Zhang Yimou to attend the opening ceremony of the film The Flowers Of War.

Mr Liu said: "He was not invited to fabricate news or shoot films in a certain village. I think if you want to make up news in China, you will not be welcome here."

Bale, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for last year's The Fighter, said he wanted to shake Mr Chen's hand and tell him "what an inspiration he is".

Mr Chen documented forced late-term abortions and sterilisations and other abuses by over-zealous authorities trying to meet population control goals in his rural community.

He was imprisoned for allegedly instigating an attack on government offices and organising a group of people to disrupt traffic, charges his supporters say were fabricated.

Although now officially free under the law, he has been confined to his home in the village eight hours' drive from Beijing and subjected to periodic beatings and other abuse, activists say.

His case has been raised publicly by US politicians and diplomats, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, all to no response from China.

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