HONG KONG: Rebel lawmakers swore, shouted, banged drums and railed against “tyranny” Wednesday when they took their oaths of office in the city’s parliament, as calls grow for a split from Beijing. The chaotic first meeting of the new term of the Legislative Council (Legco) came after a citywide vote last month saw victories for several lawmakers advocating more autonomy or even independence for Hong Kong. The city is semi-autonomous under a “one country, two systems” deal sealed when Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997 which protects Hong Kong’s freedoms for 50 years, but there are increasing concerns those liberties are disappearing as Beijing tightens its grip. Lawmakers are required to recite a short oath in Legco before they can officially take up their seats. That oath declares repeatedly that Hong Kong is a “special administrative region” of China. The government had warned lawmakers in advance they risked losing their seats if they did not take the oath properly. Nathan Law, 23, Legco’s youngest lawmaker and a former pro-democracy protest leader, delivered an impassioned speech ahead of taking the oath. “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body – but you can never imprison my mind,” said, Nathan Law, a former pro-democracy protest leader who is elected to Legco,quoting India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. Each time he referred to China in the oath, he changed the tone to turn it into a question.