Pro-democracy legislators in Hong Kong praised Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo on the floor of the assembly, delivering a rare rebuke to China.
Lining up to speak during a debate on Wednesday, the legislators argued that the Chinese activist should be released from prison. The sponsor of the motion called Liu a "role model" for other Chinese dissidents.
The motion was defeated by China's allies in the legislature, where half the members are appointed from professional constituencies
China's government has sought to suppress all discussion of the prize. Rights groups say a man was arrested last week in nearby Guangzhou simply for handing out leaflets announcing the award.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was assured it could keep its existing freedoms when it became an autonomous region of China in 1997.
Liu is serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion. He co-authored a political manifesto calling for reform in China.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.