Batman vs. China

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Bale’s confrontation thus offers enlightening instruction on what authoritarian governments like China will and will not tolerate. As long as Bale was there to do a film the government finds ideologically congenial, he was welcome. But as soon as he turned his attention to a critic of the government in Chen Guangcheng, Chinese security turned violently against him. Indeed, the Chinese government confirmed as much, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman complaining that Bale “was not invited to fabricate news or shoot films in a certain village.”

Chen of course is just one of many dissidents that the Chinese government has sought to silence. For these brave activists, 2011 has been a particularly difficult year. According to the human rights watchdog Freedom House, China over the past year stepped up its arbitrary detention and harassment of activists and human rights lawyers. In part this was the government’s reaction to the Nobel Committee’s decision to honor the jailed Chinese democracy activist Liu Xiabo with a Nobel Prize. In response, the government launched a severe crackdown on Liu’s family, including his wife, as well as his supporters, and associates. For those targeted, there is little legal recourse. Sentenced without a fair trial, they are routinely tortured and abused in prison.

To his credit, Christian Bale has drawn attention not only to the plight of an embattled activist but also to a picture of China too often forgotten by the Western media tribunes who sings its economic praises. For all the progress the country has made in recent years, its human rights-record remains, as Bale rightly observed, “disgusting.” Actors and political activism are seldom an encouraging combination. Occasionally, though, even Hollywood gets it right.

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  • jeffersontom

    "Batman" should stay in the batcave and keep his batmouth shut…He is an ACTOR…
    Not a thinker…

    • jeffrey

      this is the common actor-just-acts-cause-they-are-named-so fallacy.

      actually actors, just as pilots, musicians, body builders, authors, bus drivers have basically the same ability to searsch the world for justice , and if they can, to draw attention to malpractice. socially engaged actors can use their popularity to draw attention more effectively like for instance marlon brando.

      i do not think you can judge a persons mental and moral capabilites by watching him in an action movie.
      it is like judging your capabilities by observing how you defecates.

  • Meagan

    I am proud of Bale for taking a stand against a communist regime that is still very cruel to its citizens. While they may give out billions of dollars to governments to keep everyone out of their unethical crimes against humanity and keep politicians content to look the other way, Bale has reminded us all that China is not a friend, but a powerful force that has and uses great power, including propaganda, censorship, and criminal conspiracies against those who dare challenge them.

    • ben dover

      propaganda censorship and criminal conspiracies….hmmmm…sounds familiar

      • Rifleman

        Yea, that would cover the democrat party. The USA ain't near as bad as red china, but the dp sure would like it to be.

  • JOHN


    • Liam

      Yeah, John, you’re right. When it comes to civil liberties, we should all follow Chains China’s lead. If we all became fascists, our only problem would be cancer.

      Then again, ya know what’s worse than cancer? Stupidity. I hope yours isn’t contagious.

      The only reason you can give voice to your idiocy on a public forum is that we have freedoms the Chinese do not. I think your statement is moronic, but I defend your right to make it, in the same way that as a Christian I defend the rights of Muslims to peaceably worship as they see fit.


      • John_Kelly

        Perhaps you are totally ignorant of the facts that wherever Islam spreads the Christians are persecuted and their churches are being burnt to the ground.
        Want proof? Just ask anyone who had to leave Lebanon in the past 40 years.

        Right now the Coptic Christians are being killed in Egypt, the Christians are almost be extinct in Iraq. In Dafur they are being butchered. In Indonesia churches are burned down.

        Just name me one Western country where this behavior is reciprocated to Muslims.

        You said “as a Christian I defend the rights of Muslims to peaceably worship as they see fit.”

        I can only surmise that you are:

        a. A very ignorant Christian.


        b. A Muslim troll.

        • Roco

          So Liam opposes the call for fascism and genocide and all you can think is he's a fool or a troll? You can't let the hatred go long enough to agree that fascism and genocide are bad. Then again this is FPM so maybe as a good FPMer fascism and genocide aren't bad things after all.

          • John_Kelly

            You conveniently ignored the core of my comments to focus on one minor issue.

            Just for the record I am totally opposed to fascism and genocide and anyone with even half a brain knows that Islam perpetrates both in super-abundance.

            So Rocco do the world a favor and get your facts straight then slither back to the Huffington Post or any other brain dead, left wing site where they might just appreciate your point of view.

  • Amber

    I didn’t know it was possible to be systemically raped, tortured & killed… I think you were looking for ‘systematically’.

    • Jacob

      Quite right. Darn autocorrect. Now fixed. Thanks.

  • Misfit

    Although I agree totally that the Chinese government is a repressive and abusive system and should not do what it does, yet what gives you the right to impose yourself do, say, visit, force or whatever you want on their own house. "Batman" knows who and what the Chinese governement is and what would happen if you try to do something that is forbidden in that place but he did it so now he getting press not only for the "incident" but for his upcomming picture. Apparently the movie was funded and partially funded by the Chinese government, so why did he do it knowing the poor record of that government. I always wanted to go and see China but I hate the government, so I have this private self imposed exile and most likely I will never go to China (until the government changes)

  • tanstaafl

    I refuse to visit either Communist or Islamic cesspools.

  • American Thinker

    An elite "progressive" confronted dead on with a forceful statist "NO!"-
    LOL – say it ain't so.

  • Questions

    A lot of people forget that Christian Bale began his film career as a child actor in Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" (1987), playing a boy in WWII Shanghai kidnapped by the Japanese and sent to an internment camp. The film, based on the J.G. Ballard novel, left him with strong feelings about life under tyranny. Recall as well, more recently, his lead turn in Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn" (2007) as an American POW who escaped from a Communist Laotian prison camp during the Indochina War.

    The "Batman" fims are fine, but that's not what shaped Bale.

  • Ghostwriter

    In many ways,Christian Bale has done the world a service. Although he acted in a film about the Rape of Nanking,an historical fact by the way,he also showed that China is still an authoritarian country that doesn't like dissent. That's what much of Asia's dealing with right now. I think that Christian Bale did a good thing for the world,whatever else come out he did a good thing.

  • SpiritOf1683

    And lets not forget that 75 million Chinese have been murdered by the ruling Communists since 1949 – at least five times as many as were butchered by the Japanese.