Christian Bale was reportedly 'manhandled' by Chinese security guards as he attempted to visit a political activist who has been under house arrest for 15 months.
Chen Guangcheng has been holed up in his Dongshigu village home since September 2010, and his treatment has led to domestic and internationl outrage.
Accompanied by a camera crew from CNN, the Dark Knight Rises star was jostled by men in plain clothes in the eastern Shandong province.
In a video released on CNN's website, the actor is heard saying: "Why can I not visit this man?", before later telling the network: "You know, I'm not being brave doing this. The local people who are standing up to the authorities and insisting on going to visit Chen and his family and getting beaten up for it, and my understanding, getting detained for it and everything. I want to support what they are doing."
CNN say their vehicle was then followed for more than half an hour.
Bale added: "This doesn't come naturally to me. But this was just a situation, I said, I can't look the other way.
"What I really wanted to do is to shake the man's hand and say: 'Thank you,' and tell him what an inspiration he is."
Chen first came to the attention of Shandong officials in 2005, when he exposed a programme of forced abortions that forms part of China's one-child policy.
Having served four years in prison, he was released last year after serving a charge of "blocking traffic."
Bale is in China promoting his new film, The Flowers of War.
Movie stars behaving badly...