British actor Christian Bale presented Chinese human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng with an award for exposing government injustices in China at a Human Rights First dinner in New York on Wednesday.
Chang, who is blind, has worked for years to expose human-rights violations by the Chinese government, including forced abortions. The self-taught attorney has brought lawsuits against government officials across China for their abuses.
"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 while delivering a translation of Chen's words, the Christian Post reported.
Chen was moved to tears after Bale’s heartfelt introduction at the awards dinner, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Last December, Bale attempted to visit Chen at his home when he was in China. At the time, Chen was under house arrest, and Bale was denied the meeting by Chinese guards outside of Chen’s home. Reportedly, the guards pushed Bale around and intimidated him.
"What I really wanted to do was shake the man's hand and say, 'Thank you,' and tell him what an inspiration he is,” Bale said at that time.
Eventually, Chen was able to escape house arrest and flee to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He is currently studying law at New York University.
Bale is hardly the only one who believes Chen’s is an inspiration to human-rights advocates everywhere.
"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, the president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers.
Littlejohn even honored Bale himself, noting how strongly Bale attempted to raise awareness of Chen’s life and achievements.
"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," Littlejohn said.