China Human Rights Briefing September 29-October 5, 2011

Highlights

    * Scores of Petitioners Detained As China Celebrates National Day: Around October 1, authorities swept up large numbers of petitioners in Beijing and other parts of the country, subjecting them to detentions, mistreatment, and other restrictions on their freedom.

    * Brutal Black Jail in Shaanxi: CHRD has learned of shocking instances of detention in a black jail in Shaanxi Province. Many of the detainees have been older, disabled military veterans who had petitioned to defend their rights, including one held for longer than nine months before dying in detention.

    * China To Formulate Second Human Rights Action Plan: It was recently announced that China will formulate a new National Human Rights Action Plan, to take effect between 2012 to 2015. While the government maintains that China has met its commitments from the first plan, issued in April 2009, human rights observers argue that restrictions on citizens have only been tightened, and that China needs to take steps to prohibit ongoing human rights violations.

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

    * Authorities Detain, Harass Petitioners in Beijing, Elsewhere Around National Day
    * Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” Crackdown

Shandong Authorities Release Petitioner Liu Guohui From Residential Surveillance

    * Beijing Police Search, Detain Reproductive Rights Activist Mao Hengfeng
    * Fujian Land Rights Defender Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison
    * Anhui Family Members Formally Arrested, Had Opposed Work at Residential Land

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment

    * Shaanxi Petitioners Subjected to Brutal Treatment in Black Jail

Local People’s Congress Elections Watch

    * Beijing People’s Congress Candidate, Legal Representatives Administratively Detained
    * Police Beat Up, Briefly Detain Lawyer of Activists Challenging Election Flaws
    * Beijing Police Restrict Movement of Independent Candidates
    * Lawyers Visit Detained Candidate, Reveal Her Poor Physical, Mental States

Special Notice

    * China Announces Formulation of Second Human Rights Action Plan

Arbitrary Detention
Authorities Detain, Harass Petitioners in Beijing, Elsewhere Around National Day
Around China’s National Day on October 1, many petitioners from around the country were subjected to mass detentions, mistreatment, and other restrictions on their freedom. Throughout the day on October 1, groups of petitioners were bused in and out of Jiujingzhuang, a black jail in Beijing. Petitioners reported that, at one point, several thousand petitioners were being held at the black jail. It was so crowded and hectic that many petitioners went unfed, and some were left outside in the cold for extended periods before being taken into the facility.
 
In Beijing, various restrictions on freedom and other abuses against petitioners included:

    * On October 1, 15 veterans of the Sino-Vietnamese War from Changsha City, Hunan Province were petitioning when they were seized by interceptors and sent to Jiujingzhuang. The group was later taken from the black jail and forcibly sent back to Hunan.

    * On October 1, 44 Shanghai petitioners were walking around Tiananmen Square and Zhongnanhai—the compound of top central leadership offices—when they were stopped and searched by police. After learning that they were petitioners, the police seized them and sent them first to Fuyoumen Police Station, and then to Jiujingzhuang. The next day, Beijing police handed them over to the Shanghai liaison office. Upon being returned to Shanghai on October 3, many were issued administrative detentions ranging between five and 10 days for “disturbing social and public order, and illegal petitioning.” One petitioner, Dong Peili (董佩琍), was allegedly too ill to be held at a detention center, so authorities locked her up in a “black jail.”

    * On October 1, Jia Shuhua (贾淑华), from Handan City, Hebei Province, was seized by Handan interceptors while petitioning in the capital. Jia was issued a 10-day administrative detention and is serving the punishment in Guangmingqiao Police Station in Handan. Jia has been petitioning to seek social security benefits after she and other workers were laid off from a state-owned company.

    * On October 1, Wang Qunfeng (王群凤) from Sanmenxia City in Henan Province, Wang Xingquan (王兴权), from Liaoyang County in Jilin Province, Hua Qiuzhen (华秀珍) from Zhengzhou City in Henan Province, Dong Yulan (董玉兰) from Jilin Province, and Liao Qijian (廖启建) and Han Suhua (韩素华), both from Hong Kong, were seized by police outside the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office building. Their whereabouts are currently unknown. They are among a group of petitioners from Hong Kong and the various Chinese provinces who lit firecrackers and scattered petitioning materials to draw international attention to their plight outside the UNDP building. The petitioners’ grievances are diverse, ranging from complaints about court rulings to corruption and forced evictions.

    * On September 30, Lü Fuzhong (陆福忠), from Changning District in Shanghai, was seized by members of Changning’s Beixinjing Subdistrict Office while petitioning at the National Letters and Visits Office in Beijing. Lü is being held at Juyin Shanzhuang, a black jail in Chongming County, Shanghai.

    * On September 30, Liu Bingtong (刘炳同), a disabled petitioner from Guancheng District, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, was seized by a group of unidentified men while petitioning at the Ministry of Supervision. Liu’s whereabouts are currently unclear.

    * On September 30, Beijing interceptors used more than 10 large police vehicles and trucks to take petitioners from the State Council Letters and Visits Office to the black jail in Jiujingzhuang. But many of the petitioners were not allowed to enter the building and left outside in the cold, where they were forced to huddle together to stay warm.

    * On September 29, petitioner Liu Xianzhi (刘先枝), from Guancheng District, Zhengzhou City, was forcibly sent back to her hometown and held in a detention house in Guancheng after being seized while petitioning the previous day in front of the United Nations Development Programme office building. Liu was allowed to go home on September 30. Liu was expressing a grievance involving the case of her husband’s murder when officers from the Sanlitun Police Station took her into custody

    * On September 27, two petitioners from Wuhan City, Hubei Province, including Hu Deyu (胡德宇) and an individual surnamed Wang, were seized and taken to Jiujingzhuang after petitioning at the National Letters and Visits Office. Interceptors from the Wuhan liaison office then held them inside the Taihua Hotel, but they escaped on September 30. In addition, another Wuhan petitioner, surnamed Cai, was severely beaten on September 28 after being taken into custody in the capital.

    * On September 27, officers at the Beijing South Railway Station detained two of eight petitioners from Hunan Province who were wearing uniforms from the Baimalong Re-education through Labor (RTL) facility, which is located in Hunan Province. The group of petitioners often wears uniforms from that facility to draw attention to their plight. Officers from the Youanmen Police Station took away Yu Hong (于洪), who was not able to run away due to a disability, and Liao Wenfeng (廖文凤), who saw Yu being taken away and accompanied Yu into detention. The two were reportedly held at the Chenzhou City liaison office, but their current whereabouts are unknown. Both Liao and Yu have been stricken with disabilities from past mistreatment at the notoriously brutal Baimalong RTL, where they were previously held, and Yu suffers from a variety of ailments. Liao has pursued a grievance over the unnatural death of her son, who had been held by police after a dispute and died after alleged torture. Yu has petitioned after not receiving compensation for the workplace deaths of her ex-husband and son at a state-owned hydropower company, deaths which authorities later claimed were suicides.

    * On September 26, Lin Dongjin (林东进), Lin Tianqiu (林天球), Lin Tianzheng (林天正), Lin Kunkun (林坤坤), Lin Yinghua (林应华), and Tang Zhaoxing (唐兆星)—all farmers from Fuzhou City, Fujian Province—were seized around the subway beneath the Beijing North Train Station by over 50 thugs working under direction of an official from the Fuzhou liaison office. The farmers were roughly handled, their mobile phones were confiscated, and they were detained in Yanleyuan Hostel, where they were given inadequate food and denied medical care. On September 29, the petitioners were forcibly returned to Fuzhou. Those seized in Beijing were among 11 farmers who planned to petition there after their land was expropriated by the local government without adequate compensation. Of the other six, four farmers—Lin Dongfa (林东发), Lin Yiyin (林依银), Lin Longguan (林龙官), and Lin Fuxuan (林富煊)—were intercepted inside the Fuzhou Train Station on September 25. Two others did not enter the station after they saw their friends seized and were not taken into custody.

    * On September 26, petitioner Huang Guangyu (黄光玉), from Jishou City in Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, was abducted by authorities in Beijing. Four Beijing police officers reportedly went to where Huang was with several Jishou personnel, including a national security officer and seven or eight individuals from the Zhenxi Subdistrict Office. The subdistrict personnel reportedly located Huang by tracking his movements through his cell phone. (HRCC)

These are among other reported incidents of restricted freedom placed on petitioners in other parts of China:

    * Since September 30, Hu Guohong (胡国红) and Cheng Xue (程雪), a couple from Wuhan, have had members of the Xincun Road Subdistrict Office in Jiang’an District stationed outside their home. Cheng has speculated that they will be under “soft detention” until mid-October. In 2008, Hu was confined in Wuhan Mental Hospital after pursuing compensation from authorities over a physical assault. Since then, the couple has spoken out about psychiatric detention and assisted other victims.

    * On September 28, Li Shilian (李世联), from Xuzhou City in Jiangsu Province, was petitioning at the Xuzhou City Letters and Visits Office when several policemen dragged him into a police office at the city government compound. Police used pepper spray and beat Li with batons until he fainted at one point, and some of his belongings were confiscated. Li was then detained at Fengcheng Town Police Station before being released the next day.

    * On September 26, four or five petitioners from Tiantai County, Zhejiang Province, including Xu Jiangjiao (徐江姣), were taken into custody at Wufeng Home Hostel, a black jail in Tiantai. A local government official reportedly stated that, during the National Day period, all petitioners from the area who intended to go to Beijing were to be detained in that location. (HRCC, CRLW, CHRD)[i]

Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” Crackdown
Shandong Authorities Release Petitioner Liu Guohui From Residential Surveillance
 Liu Guohui (刘国慧), a petitioner from Linyi City, Shandong Province, was removed from residential surveillance on September 28, or 10 days before her original punishment was set to expire. Liu was seized on March 10 when she went to meet a Linyi policeman who promised to discuss compensation for her demolished home, but she instead was criminally detained the next day on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” On April 8, Liu was released on bail and placed under six-month residential surveillance. While detaining Liu, police officers asked her about the Jasmine Revolution, and also how information became known outside China about Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), the activist under house arrest in his home village in Linyi. The police alleged that Liu “sent information to anti-China forces.” She has filed a complaint over her periods in detention and residential surveillance to several bodies in Linyi. (CHRB)[ii]
Beijing Police Search, Detain Reproductive Rights Activist Mao Hengfeng
On September 29, Beijing police searched and detained Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), a longtime reproductive rights and housing activist from Shanghai. Mao was walking near Gangwashi Church when she was stopped and searched by police officers, who demanded she produce her I.D. card. She was preparing to make a copy of the card for the officers when one of them claimed that they only wanted to see her identification. After she handed over her I.D., the officer instead confiscated it, and Mao was dragged off and detained at the Fengsheng Police Station. Mao’s whereabouts were unknown at the time of writing.
 
In late February this year, Mao had been serving an 18-month Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment at the Anhui Provincial Women’s RTL when she was sent home for treatment after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage from being beaten by guards and fellow detainees. She then returned to the RTL facility and was finally released on July 28. Mao had been issued the RTL punishment in March 2010 for “disturbing social order” outside of the Beijing Number One Intermediate Court on December 25, 2009, when the sentence against writer and activist Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) was announced. Mao’s job was terminated in 1988 for her refusal to terminate her pregnancy with a third child after she had already given birth to twins. She has been detained numerous times for her rights activism, and has reported frequent torture and other mistreatment from periods of confinement. (CHRD)[iii]

Fujian Land Rights Defender Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

On September 19, Lü Zuoyu (陆祚钰), a rights defender from Changfen Village, Gufeng Town, Pingnan District, Fujian Province, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order” over an incident involving expropriated farmland that took place over a year ago. In May of 2010, Lü allegedly led a group of 100 fellow villagers to the opening ceremony of a private company, which had received the villagers’ land from the local government in 2005. The villagers requested the company return the land to them and also compensate for their losses. For participating in this incident, Lü and others were detained and then released on bail in December. Lü continued to pursue her rights defense activities, however, and authorities took her back into custody this past August. The villagers took action last year only after failing to gain results after petitioning at the local letters and visits office and also being unable to obtain compensation for land they believe had been illegally expropriated. (HRCC)[iv]
Anhui Family Members Formally Arrested, Had Opposed Work at Residential Land
On September 30, the Baohe District People’s Procuratorate in Hefei City, Anhui Province approved the arrests of three family members—Hu Xianzheng (胡先正), Hu Shaocai (胡召才), and Hu Shaochun (胡召春)—on charges of “sabotaging production or business operations.”  On August 25, the three had been criminally detained by police from the Baohe branch of the Hefei City Public Security Bureau for trying to block construction work by a real estate company near where their demolished family home once stood. The family had previously petitioned the local government after the home was destroyed in 2008—contending the demolition and relocation were illegal and the compensation inadequate—and since then the government has left the land unoccupied. (CHRD)[v]
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment
Shaanxi Petitioners Subjected to Brutal Treatment in Black Jail
Despite government claims about cleaning up illegal detention facilities known as “black jails,” CHRD has recently learned of shocking instances of such detention in Chenggu County, Shaanxi Province, in a facility operated by officials who have subjected detainees to horrific abuses. Between June and December 2009, Chenggu officials attempted to ramp up suppression of individuals, mostly petitioners, by holding them in a “legal education training center,” a detention facility set up inside a psychiatric hospital. Many disabled military veterans have been detained in this black jail, including one held there for longer than nine months. The detainees have reportedly been tortured and very poorly feed, and authorities have neither indicated charges against them nor notified families of their whereabouts.
 
In June of 2009, Chenggu authorities took into custody at this black jail disabled veterans Yao Jianqiang (姚建强) and Xu Lingjun (胥灵军), who had been petitioning in Beijing. Xu was tortured constantly and ended up starving to death in March of 2010. Other disabled military veterans detained in the jail were also tortured and on the brink of death by the time they were taken to a hospital for medical treatment, including Wu Jinxiu (武金秀) and Zhang Zhiying (張芝英). Veterans Xu Lingyong (胥灵永), who was held in the black jail early this year, and Hu Yanping (胡艳萍) still suffer emotionally and physically from the deplorable treatment they endured. 74-year-old Xu Fengcheng (许凤成), who was held twice in the black jail for a total of about three months, reported that he had lost over one-fourth of his weight in detention. Cao Zhengbin (曹正斌), Wu Yan’e (武燕娥), Liu Xiaohua (刘小华), and Xu Jiamiao (许家庙) also have given testimonies of their detention in this black jail in 2011.
 
Before releasing petitioners, authorities have reportedly forced them to sign guarantees that they will stop petitioning, as well as pay a deposit and provide a guarantor. Still, those who have been released said they would continue to petition in pursuit of justice. (CHRD)[vi]
Local People’s Congress Elections Watch
Beijing People’s Congress Candidate, Legal Representatives Administratively Detained
CHRD has learned that Wu Lihong (吴立红), a petitioner running as a People’s Congress candidate in Beijing, was taken into custody on September 29, and the next day Wu was one of three individuals issued a 15-day administrative detention. Earlier this year, Wu had filed a lawsuit over a past detention against the Chaoyang branch of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, and a hearing for her case was taking place on the day she was taken into custody. Wu’s legal representatives, Qi Yueying (齐月英) and Li Shanlin (李山林), also went out of contact that day, after authorities had forced hearing attendees out of the courthouse, and were given 15-day detentions as well. The three are being held in the Chaoyang District Detention House, though at the time of writing the charges against them were still unknown. Police have been conducting surveillance and monitoring of Wu since September 12, when she took part in a publicity event for the local election. Wu has petitioned to defend her rights after a forced home demolition, and has been subjected to monitoring and held in black jails. (CHRD)[vii]
Police Beat Up, Briefly Detain Lawyer of Activists Challenging Election Flaws
Late in the evening on September 29, the Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng (王成), who had filed a lawsuit on behalf of activists challenging corruption and lack of transparency in local People’s Congress elections, was dragged out of a hotel bed, beaten, and taken away by police in Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province. Wang had checked into the hotel after being prevented from meeting the Xinyu activists Li Sihua (李思华) and Liu Ping (刘萍) earlier in the day, when they all had initially planned to go to the Xinyu City People’s Congress office to discuss alleged illegalities in the Tongzhou electoral district election that took place in June. Another activist, Wei Zhongping (魏忠平), was also staying at the hotel, but was taken away by police and sent home. Wang Cheng was sent back to Hangzhou on September 30 and, in an interview with VOA, told journalists that police had severely beaten him.
 
After Li, Liu, and Wei had declared themselves “independent candidates” for local elections, all three had been prevented from participating when authorities determined their candidacies were “illegal.” On September 9, Wang had submitted on behalf of Li and Liu their report about illegalities in the Tongzhou electoral district to three bodies—the Standing Committee of the Xinyu City People’s Congress, the Standing Committee of the Jiangxi Provincial People’s Congress, and the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. (CHRD)[viii]
Beijing Police Restrict Movement of Independent Candidates
From the evening of September 29, police restricted the movements of a number of independent candidates for the local People’s Congresses in Beijing, who planned to assist independent candidate Han Ying (韩颖) at a publicity event scheduled to take place the next morning near Han’s residence in Bagou in Haidian District. Zhang Shanggen (张善根), Ye Jingchun (野靖春), and Wang Xiuzhen (王秀珍) were monitored by police at their homes and warned not to leave. Only a few candidates—including Shao Lihua (邵黎华), Ye Jinghuan (野靖环), Li Liying (李丽英), Zhao Shuying (赵淑英)—were able to evade police and go to the event location. At the scene were mainly police officers and unidentified individuals believed to be working for the government as well as some foreign journalists. Police prevented the journalists from conducting interviews by forcibly separating them from the election participants. In addition, activist He Depu (何德普), who has been assisting candidates in preparing for local elections, was also prevented from leaving his home by police on September 29. From 8 a.m. on September 30, the main entrance to Han Ying’s neighborhood was locked, preventing local residents from coming and going freely. Han fell out of contact for most of the day, but she had returned home by the late afternoon. (CHRD)[ix]
Lawyers Visit Detained Candidate, Reveal Her Poor Physical, Mental States
On September 29, three lawyers met with Li Biyun (李碧云), a petitioner and independent People’s Congress candidate who was criminally detained on suspicion of “undermining elections” on September 21in Shunde District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province. Lawyers Li Zhiyong (李志勇) and Wang Quanping (王全平), both from Guangdong, and Wu Yuanshu (吴远树) from Hubei Province found that Li’s feet had been shackled and that she appeared weak, using IV bags to intake fluids. Though first detained at the Shunde District Detention Center, Li had been relocated to the Guangzhou Armed Police General Hospital, where police said that she had been taken after displaying self-destructive behavior. However, residents have also indicated that she was taken to the hospital since the detention center refused to hold Li, who has been suffering from several illnesses and is generally in poor health.
 
When meeting the lawyers, Li denied that she had thoughts of hurting herself in detention. She had been detained in part because she had stabbed Luo Zhiheng (罗志恒), a neighborhood committee secretary who was slightly injured during an argument with Li about election proceedings in the Ronggui electoral district. Admitting that she had stabbed Luo, Li explained that she carried a knife in self-defense because of constant harassment and physical abuse that she has endured in the community, including disappearances, beatings, and theft of her personal belongings. Prior to being taken into custody, Li asked the local election committee why it had not publicized the Ronggui election. Li then had her electoral qualifications stripped, and she unsuccessfully attempted to file suit against the committee on September 19. (CHRD)[x]
Special Notice
China Announces Formulation of Second Human Rights Action Plan
On September 28, Wang Chen (王晨), minister of the State Council Information Office (SCIO), announced the coming production of a new National Human Rights Action Plan of China, which will guide the development of human rights in the country from 2012 to 2015. According to Wang, the plan reportedly will be formulated through discussions with 56 organizations, including government bodies and NGOs.
 
China issued its first human rights action plan in April 2009. Though the SCIO has said that, in an assessment of the first plan published this past July, China has fulfilled its commitments in that plan, many observers both inside and outside the country argue the government has only tightened restrictions on rights of expression, association, and assembly in the past two years. Instead of seeing progress in human rights, they maintain that Chinese authorities have stepped up harassment of human rights defenders, lawyers, and activists, and that China urgently needs to take real steps to prohibit torture, enforced disappearances, and illegal house arrests.
 
Editors of this issue: Victor Clemens and Songlian Wang
 
Follow us on Twitter: @CHRDnet
 
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News updates from CHRD
[i] “Shanghai Petitioners Sent Home in Droves, Many Administratively Detained” (上海访民被集体遣送,多人遭行政拘留), October 4, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_634.html; “Many Shanghai Petitioners Taken Into Custody For Going to Beijing on October 1” (上海十·一进京访民多人遭拘留), October 4, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14669 “On ‘National Day’ for the Party-State, Petitioners in Jiujingzhuang Go Hungry” (党国“国庆”日,久敬庄访民饿肚子), October 1, 2011, http://rightscampaign.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_6693.html  “Sino-Vietnamese War Veterans Detained, Sent Back to Changsha for Petitioning in Beijing” (长沙对越战争退伍老兵进京上访被押回长沙), October 2, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_5452.html; “55 Shanghai Petitioners Detained during October 1, Forcibly Sent Back and Feared Criminally Detained” (十一期间上海44位访民被关押,被遣送后恐遭刑拘), October 2, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/10/44.html; “Hebei Petitioner Jia Shuhua Intercepted and Administratively Detained for Petitioning on October 1” (河北访民贾淑华“10.1”上访被接回行政拘留), October 2, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/10/101.html; “Petitioners Seized for Calling Attention to their Grievances Outside of the United Nations Beijing Liaison Office on October 1” (十一访民到联合国驻京办鸣冤被抓走), October 2, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_170.html; “Shanghai Petitioner Lü Fuzhong Detained in Chongming on October 1” (上海访民陆福忠“十一”被囚崇明岛), October 2, 2011, http://rightscampaign.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_5930.html; “Urgent Notice: Group of Petitioners Subjected to Cold at Jiujingzhuang Black Jail” (紧急关注一批访民在久敬庄门口受冻), September 30, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_4843.html;  “Large Group of Fuzhou, Fujian Petitioners Seized While Voicing Injustices in Beijing” (福建福州冤民群体进京被劫持), September 28, 2011, http://rightscampaign.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_8477.html; “Prior to National Day, Many Petitioners From Around China Intercepted, Detained, Have Limits Placed on Freedom” (国庆节前多地访民被截访、关押、限制自由), September 30, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14664; “Fuzhou Petitioners Beaten and Mistreated in Black Jail for Petitioning, then Sent Home” (福州上京访民被关黑监狱殴虐待后遣返), September 30, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_6940.html; “Wuhan Rights Defender Couple Hu Guohong and Cheng Xue Have Home Raided, Are Taken Away” (武汉维权人士胡国红程雪夫妇被抄家抓走), June 28, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14379; “Media Attention on Fate of Hu Guohong Since Suffering in Wuhan Mental Hospital” (媒体关注难阻武汉精神病院受难者胡国红被堵门的命运), May 23, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14232; “Henan petitioner Liu Xianzhi Voices Injustice, Gets Detained” (河南访民刘先枝喊冤被关押), September 28, 2011

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