Not many people are likely to appreciate the idea that these two groups are equally deserving of mercy. Those of us who do not worship the Chinese Communist Party will fail to see much equivalence between kids sitting in the street asking for democracy and police abusing their powers by assaulting people. Beijing’s local followers, meanwhile, will object to giving CIA-funded radical vandals the same treatment as noble patriotic forces of law and order.
Of course, that is in some ways the whole point of the suggestion – new Chief Executive Carrie Lam can make a fresh start by getting everyone to admit that they got too carried away, and we all need to sit down together and learn to be friends again.
The idea is typical Democratic Party, however. It is earnest and well-intentioned, attempting to be constructive while true to the party’s ideals. It is fanciful, and probably impractical or questionable from a legal point of view. It is also inappropriate, if not pretentious, given that the Occupy protests and subsequent politicized prosecutions are a mess rather than some sort of social cataclysm. You get the feeling that the Democratic Party wanted to announce something to get some attention, and this was the best they could think of.
Unfortunately, Carrie is not ushering in a new regime. While she would probably like to spread harmony, she is not in a position to rise above divisions and bring opposition forces and the pro-Beijing camp together as equals. Her duty is to serve Beijing and counter the opposition, if less stupidly than the incumbent. There will be no Truth and Reconciliation Commission until the Communist Party loses its monopoly of power.