Batman star Christian Bale visits Disneyland with blind dissident Chen Guangcheng

Pair have formed a close friendship since actor tried to visit Chen while under house arrest

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 10:27am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2013, 6:36pm

It seems Hollywood movie star Christian Bale and blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng are forming quite a friendship after pictures emerged of the pair visiting Disneyland.

Accompanied by their families, the Dark Knight star and exiled Chen toured the theme park on January 20.

In the photos, Bale, 38, can be seen arm in arm with Chen as he guides him through the California tourist attraction.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer, made headline news around the world with his daring escape in April from house arrest. He had been jailed in 2006 after exposing forced abortions and other abuses under China’s one-child policy and subsequently held under house arrest during which, he said, he and his wife were severely beaten as punishment for speaking out. After his escape he was eventually able to go to New York

Chen and Bale struck up a friendship after the actor attempted to visit 41-year-old Chen in December 2011, along with a CNN crew, after an eight-hour drive from Beijing. Government guards in his village forcefully prevented the actor from entering.

Then in October last year, the actor paid tribute to Chen as he presented him with an award from the group, Human Rights First.

“He represents the people of China, the people that I met. He represents their hopes, their aspirations and their desire to be free from corruption and tyranny,” the British actor told the ceremony.

“He is a symbol of what an individual is capable of, no matter how humble his or her origins. He is in my opinion a giant among men,” Bale said.