The Welsh actor hit the headlines last December (11) after travelling to Dongshigu, China with a CNN camera crew in an attempt to meet Chen Guangcheng while he was under house arrest.
Bale was roughed up and eventually turned away by government guards, but he finally had the chance to meet the lawyer and political dissident at the annual gala in New York City.
Both men shed tears of joy onstage as Bale embraced the activist, who champions the rights of women, the disabled, and the poor in China, and gave him his trophy.
Joking about the campaigner's escape from house arrest in April (12), Bale told the crowd, ""Steve McQueen and the Great Escape have got nothing on Chen.""
Chen has been living in New York with his wife and two kids since fleeing to the U.S. embassy in Beijing in April (12).