A motion condemning the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown was defeated in the Legislative Council last night.
Pro-establishment lawmakers largely remained silent during the debate - the 15th time the motion has been tabled and defeated since 1999.
The motion was tabled by lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organised the annual candlelight vigil at Victoria Park on June 4.
The alliance said more than 180,000 people attended the vigil this year - amid challenges from both pro-government activists and radical pan-democrat lawmaker Wong Yuk-man, who claimed that 7,000 people attended an alternative rally he co-organised in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Last night's motion won majority support in the geographical group, with 14 pan-democrats supporting it. Eight pro-establishment lawmakers voted it down. But it was vetoed as only nine pan-democrats from the functional constituencies voted in favour of it, seven pro-establishment lawmakers voted against it and nine abstained.
Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun and surveyor and lawmaker Tony Tse Wai-chuen were the only two from the pro-establishment bloc to make their stance known. Tse said: "The important thing is to learn from history and fight corruption … a country's success relies on a graft-free and efficient government." Tien described June 4 as a "tragedy", and said Hongkongers should "hope the country will develop better and better".