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HK lawmakers honor jailed dissident in debate

 Hong Kong legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man, right, speaks next to legislator Leung Kwok Hung, left during a parliamentary debate in the Hong Kong Legi...
 Hong Kong legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man, right, and other protesters attend a demonstration as parliamentary debate is held in the Hong Kong Legisl...
 A pro-democracy protester holds a picture of Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration as a parliamentary debate is held in the Hong Kong Legislative Council...

China Nobel Peace Prize

Hong Kong legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man, right, speaks next to legislator Leung Kwok Hung, left during a parliamentary debate in the Hong Kong Legi...

China Nobel Peace Prize

Hong Kong legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man, right, and other protesters attend a demonstration as parliamentary debate is held in the Hong Kong Legisl...

China Nobel Peace Prize

A pro-democracy protester holds a picture of Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration as a parliamentary debate is held in the Hong Kong Legislative Council...

Hong Kong legislators on Wednesday challenged Beijing's condemnation of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, heaping praise on the jailed dissident in a rare parliamentary debate of the issue on Chinese soil.
Liu's Nobel win last month drew an angry response from the Chinese government, which blasted Nobel organizers for honoring Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion after he co-authored a bold appeal known as Charter 08 calling for reforms to the country's communist political system.
Chinese officials put Liu's wife under house arrest, and news reports of the prize have been censored. Dozens of activists have reported being detained or harassed by police in an attempt to silence reaction.
But pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong took advantage of the southern financial hub's semiautonomous status on Wednesday to honor Liu.
Opposition legislators lined up to pay tribute to the Chinese dissident in a debate triggered by Raymond Wong, who proposed a resolution demanding Beijing release Liu and other jailed dissidents.
Wong said Liu's 20-year plus campaign for human rights and democratic reforms made him a "role model for political dissidents."
"The Chinese Communist Party may be able to lock up Liu Xiaobo and other human rights activists, but it cannot resist the trend of democracy," Wong said.
Wong's motion, however, is expected to be defeated because Beijing loyalists control the Hong Kong legislature, which is half-elected, half chosen by interest groups that typically side with the Chinese government.
One of the few pro-Beijing lawmakers to speak said the Hong Kong legislature doesn't have the power to comment on mainland affairs.
"We need to respect the mainland's political system and its laws," said Jeffery Lam, who was chosen by the business community to serve in the legislature.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, has maintained separate political, economic and legal systems since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and enjoys Western-style civil liberties typically denied in the mainland.