Christian Bale screengrab

Christian Bale is appearing in his first Chinese-language film, but it appears he doesn't have any fans among the country's communist leaders.

A government spokesman slammed the Oscar winner, saying he should feel embarrassed for visiting a human-rights activist under house arrest in eastern China while he was there doing publicity for his starring role in Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War.

So what got the Chinese in such a tizzy?

Bale, 37, made headlines five days ago when he was manhandled by government guards after turning up at the village of Dongshigu in eastern China without permission to meet with blind lawyer and activist Chen Ghuangcheng, who recently served a four-year prison sentence after exposing forced abortions and sterilizations.

Accompanying the actor was a CNN camera crew, which filmed guards repeatedly shoving Bale and ordering him to leave, despite his protestations that he was there to visit a "free man" whom he saw as an inspiration.

But that's not how Chinese officials saw the scuffle.

According to reports, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin suggested The Dark Knight star was an instigator with bad manners who insulted his hosts.

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

The spokesman added that Bale was there expressly at the invitation of Yimou to attend the opening of The Flowers of War, which chronicles Japan's 1937 invasion and "rape of Nanking." China plans to submit the flick for a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar category.

But after this little controversy, we've a feeling Bale won't be making too many more movies in the Orient anytime soon.

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