Christian Bale screengrab

Christian Bale insists he's not the brave one in this case—but we're going to have to give him credit for his courage nonetheless.

While in China promoting The Flowers of War, a war drama set in 1930s Nanjing, the Oscar winner attempted to pay a visit to activist and attorney Chen Ghuangcheng, a blind family man who's been under house arrest since his release from prison last year on charges of damaging property and disrupting traffic during a protest.

And the flock of guards who are stationed outside Chen's property didn't take kindly to Bale's arrival, as shown in the footage shot by the CNN crew who made the trip with the actor to the village of Dongshigu in eastern China.

"I am here to see Chen Guangcheng," Bale told the guards in English, as one of his guides translated.

The guards, bundled up in winter coats and hats, replied sternly, "Go away!" A few of them also physically tried to turn the group around back down the driveway.

When they were denied entry, Bale took out a little camera and started filming the action and started asking, "Why can I not visit this free man?" In an effort to get him to stop, several guards shoved him and grabbed for his camera.

Once back in their car on the way to Beijing, Bale explained, "What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is."

Meanwhile, some of Chen's guards had piled into their own van and gave chase to Bale and the crew.

"I'm not brave doing this," Bale said. "The local people who are standing up to the authorities, who are visiting Chen and his family and getting beaten or detained, I want to support them."

Ironically, the Dark Knight Rises star was not so long ago becoming better known for his volatility than his acting skills. Then along came his Oscar-winning role in The Fighter, his knack for garrulous speeches and, apparently, this new leaf.

"This doesn't come naturally to me, this is not what I actually enjoy—it isn't about me," Bale added. "But this was just a situation that said I can't look the other way."

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