Two prisoners in facing dissimilar charges in two dissimilar countries have fallen afoul of their governments for a similar reason: fear.
Despite their immense power over their citizens, governments fear individual dissent, whether breaking "laws" imposed to protect those in power or speaking out against those in power. The harsh response to these two cases results from the two men having embarrassed their governments in the eyes of the world and their associated feeling of impotence. Each must foster fear on remaining citizens in hope of preventing further embarrassment. They seem to be insensitive or uncaring about world reaction to treatment of these two individuals.
I am not member of the ACLU and am not a dissident. I am a human being with empathy. The US Government treatment of Bradley Manning is unjustified. Incarceration under normal conditions is bad enough; Chinese Government treatment of Ai Wei Wei is similarly unjustified and cruel.
A second finger can be pointed at the US Government. How can it criticize the Chinese about human rights violations? This is the height of hypocrisy. Like the Rhine graben, the moral high ground has sunk below the surface of surrounding land.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.