Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Why Indonesia Can Only Wait for Rain as Riau Burns and Singapore Chokes [Jakarta Post] #Singapore #Indonesia #Haze

A test of interconnectedness – the neighbors are a direct and critical cog of Singapore’s regional production and resource network. There is little deviation along the compass point when fingering the transnational capitalists or lamenting at political rhetorical ellipse. Anticipating wind patterns before the burn should have been a smarter way to do the inevitable; and for leaders to be a step ahead.

Further reading:

Burning Borneo Causes Worldwide Concern (June 22, 2013)

Singaporeans Slam Leaders for Not Ordering Work Halt Amid Smog (June 22, 2013)

Interestingly enough, the notion that Singapore is part of China persists…

Haze puts S’pore on map, millions surprised to find it there (Business Times, June 22, 2013 by Joyce Hooi)

THE world reacted with incredulity yesterday when it discovered what a “Singapore” was. Some clues to the existence of the city-state began emerging on Wednesday, when millions of orders for respiratory masks began crashing Amazon’s servers.

“I’ve seen that word before on one or two orders, you know?” an e-retailer told The Business Times yesterday. “But I got like a million orders from these Singaporeanese this week, and I thought, ‘boy, the air in China must be getting a lot worse’.”

Some, however, have expressed doubt at its existence. “I can’t see it on Nasa’s website of satellite images. There’s a patch of white smoke where people say it should be,” a forum member on Reddit said.

And in perhaps getting to the root…

Indonesia names Sinar Mas, APRIL, among eight firms behind Singapore haze (Eco Business, June 21, 2013 by Jessica Cheam)

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See: The guilty secrets of palm oil: Are you unwittingly contributing to the devastation of the rain forests? (The Independent, May 2009)

It’s an invisible ingredient, really, palm oil. You won’t find it listed on your margarine, your bread, your biscuits or your KitKat. It’s there though, under “vegetable oil”. And its impact, 7,000 miles away, is very visible indeed.

The wildlife-rich forests of Indonesia and Malaysia are being chain-sawed to make way for palm-oil plantations. Thirty square miles are felled daily in a burst of habitat destruction that is taking place on a scale and speed almost unimaginable in the West.

When the rainforests disappear almost all of the wildlife – including the orangutans, tigers, sun bears, bearded pigs and other endangered species – and indigenous people go. In their place come palm-oil plantations stretching for mile after mile, producing cheap oil – the cheapest cooking oil in the world – for everyday food. Martin Hickman for the Independent, 2009

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Why Indonesia Can Only Wait for Rain as Riau Burns and Singapore Chokes
Source – Jakarta Post, published June 21, 2013

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Motorcyclists drive through the smog in Dumai, Riau on June 21. (Reuters Photo)

Indonesia has accepted international praise for its deforestation legislation but has failed to invest in its enforcement, two top environmental groups said on Friday as fires continued to burn through protected peatlands in Sumatra.

The Ministry of Forestry lacks the resources to police the million of hectares of forest protected under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s acclaimed deforestation moratorium, Greenpeace Indonesia said. Fires in Riau province have burned for nearly a week, blanketing portions of Sumatra, Malaysia and Singapore in a thick cloud of smog.

More than 140 hotspots have been observed in satellite images across Sumatra and Kalimantan since the start of the week. Environmental activists and the ministry disagree over the number of hotspots burning in protected forests. Environmental groups estimated that number was close to 70. The ministry said fires were reported in only “five or six” protected forests.

“It’s nowhere near 50 percent,” said ministry spokesman Sumarto.

Please click here to read the full article at the Jakarta Post.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: ASEAN, Climate Change, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, History, Ideology, Indonesia, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Resources, Singapore, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

BY INVITATION: The slow boat in China is good for the region [Straits Times] #RisingChina #Growth

East Asia Institute professional fellow John Wong with an overview on China’s rejigging of its growth rhetoric and how ASEAN stands to benefit.

China has sustained hyper growth for more than 30 years. This is because it has much greater internal dynamics. A case in point is that only half of China’s population today is urbanised. China may therefore still have plenty of room for expansion in the medium term.

Still, China must also start adjusting to the inevitable transition from double-digit hyper expansion to more sustainable growth levels.

And perhaps quite saliently, this is something many miss – China can afford to do it.

A recent projection by the World Bank shows that China’s average growth through most of this decade will still be around 7 per cent to 8 per cent, easing to 6 per cent or 5 per cent in the 2020s. What is “low growth” for China is actually not low at all by regional and global standards.

Zooming out, while rising China takes a deep breath from hyper growth, it may be an opportune time for ASEAN to gear itself up further. The sustained ideological Sino-US chest beating will continue but it also needs to keep an eye on a multipolar future.

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BY INVITATION: The slow boat in China is good for the region
China’s growth is slowing, in line with long-declared policy to prevent overheating. Asean too will benefit from less competitive pressures in exports and investments.
By John Wong
Source – The Straits Times, published Jun 01, 2013

20130602-050224.jpg
— ST ILLUSTRATION by ADAM LEE

HAVING chalked up 9.9 per cent growth a year for over three decades, China’s economy is showing clear signs of slowing down.

No economy can keep on growing at such a breakneck rate for so long without running into constraints. An economy that has experienced high growth for a prolonged period inevitably slows as its original growth-inducing forces weaken. This is simply a result of the working of the market forces.

China’s slowing growth is not only inevitable; it is a desirable phenomenon, not only for the country, but also for its neighbours.

Please click here to read the full article a the Straits Times.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, South China Sea, Straits Times, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S.

Agencies to probe cafe over name [Straits Times] #China #Singapore #Diaoyu #EastChinaSea

Wandering China covered this news story a little over a month ago – see Sophia Rd cafe cashes in on island dispute [AsiaOne]. Now it seems, three agencies in Singapore – the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas), the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) and the Police are going to probe the cafe over its name.

Does this marketing gimmick have enough clout to affect international relations? It looks like Singapore is about to self-regulate in an act of top-down self censorship. One wonders if it is acting on a public complaint, at all.

Why further accentuating divide where convergence could be celebrated I wonder. I had the chance to visit the cafe just a few days ago and people of all races and creed could be seen sauntering in, both out of curiousity and others, to grab an affordable meal.

Some background into the probe –

‘Advertisements should not adopt or encourage a confrontational approach to resolving societal conflicts or differences. Advertisements should not exploit or fuel conflicts relating to national problems and controversial policies or issues.’

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Agencies to probe cafe over name
Diao Yu Dao moniker draws attention of police, Acra and ad authority
By Melissa Lin
Source – Straits Times, Published Dec 25, 2012

20121225-064544.jpg
The Sophia Road cafe has a signboard bearing the words Diao Yu Dao, China’s name for the group of islands in the East China Sea whose ownership is disputed by Tokyo and Beijing. — ST PHOTO: NURIA LING

BARELY two months after opening for business, a cafe at Peace Centre – called Diao Yu Dao – has come to the attention of at least three agencies for its name linked to islands whose ownership is disputed by Japan and China.

The agencies are the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas), the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) and the police.

Diaoyu is China’s name for the group of islands in the East China Sea. Japan, which controls them, calls them the Senkaku islands.

Please click here to read rest of the article at the source (subscription required)

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Advertising, ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, East China Sea, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Straits Times, Strategy, Taiwan, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

The China8 Interviews: On Singapore and China with Dr Danny Tan

Wandering China is pleased to release the fourth of the China8 series of interviews. China8 is where China’s perceived and presenting selves are discussed. This it hopes to achieve by looking closely at both China’s international and domestic coherence of its harmonious ascent. Ultimately, Wandering China hopes these perspectives will be helpful for anyone making sense of depending on how you see it, the fourth rise of the middle kingdom, or sixty odd years of consciousness of a new nation-state with a coherent identity emergent from a long drawn period of ideological strife. Note – this is an expanded interview (the norm is/was eight questions).

Wandering China catches up with Dr Danny Tan, a vocal contributor to Singapore’s fourth estate forums both in traditional broadsheets and new media. He is also a scholar on Southeast Asian studies. In general, he is interested in cultural flux and how each culture adapts to these changes. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China8 Interviews, Chinese overseas, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Singapore, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

Sihanouk reminds China of shared stand [Global Times]

The once leadership-turmoil stricken former King of Cambodia has passed on.

And it’s not just China, Singapore’s former president SR Nathan too, weighed in with the true friend narrative – Singapore loses a “true friend” with Sihanouk’s death (Channel News Asia, October 16, 2012)

See also – Int’l society mourns passing away of ex-Cambodian king (Xinhua, October 16, 2012)

The Global Times communicates China’s ideological memories on anti-hegemonic diplomacy:

Looking around the world, China has too few friends like Sihanouk. We have too many scruples regarding Western diplomatic actions. We rarely have the opportunity to express China’s values and developing countries’ common moral principles. Of course, China has come a long way from the maverick country in the 1970s that was at odds with both the US and the Soviet Union. It has deeply integrated itself into world systems, upholding a cautious and balanced approach to diplomacy. The era in which Tiananmen Square hosted an anti-US rally to welcome Sihanouk is forever gone.

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Sihanouk reminds China of shared stand
Global Times Op-Ed
Source – Global Times, published October 16, 2012

Retired Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk died in Beijing early Monday morning at the age of 90. Sihanouk was one of China’s closest friends. He reminded us of the close relations between the two countries and provided enlightenment on the future of China’s diplomacy.

Chinese society is more familiar with “Prince Sihanouk.” His government was overthrown by a US-instigated coup in 1970 because of his persistence in adhering to neutral diplomacy, and his refusal to join the US-dominated Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty. China accepted him at his most difficult time.

It was a high-profile action by China’s anti-hegemonic diplomacy. Some Web users think that China’s investment into Cambodia is a poor decision. This argument itself is small-minded and populist. These views are totally incompatible with China’s fundamental interests. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Cambodia, Chinese Model, Communications, Government & Policy, History, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Pollution, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , ,

[Singapore’s Lee Hsien-Loong in dialogue with senior Chinese party officials in Beijing] China ‘faces challenges within itself’ [Straits Times]

Greater China sphere: In China to affirm bilateral ties, Singapore’s prime minister left Beijing Friday September 7th after a six-day official visit. During his stay, he met with China’s top leaders Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Wu Bangguo. On top of Beijing he also visited Sichuan Province to the southwest and Tianjin Municipality up north. Of course, the symbolic gesture has been the arrival of pandas from China as token making Singapore the seventh recipient of panda diplomacy.

Here’s a broad sweep of state media coverage on Lee’s visit.

Chinese state media

Xinhua – Chinese vice premier meets Singaporean PM (September 7, 2012)
Xinhua – China’s top legislator [Wu Bangguo] meets Singaporean PM (September 7, 2012)
China Daily – Premier Wen calls for further co-op with Singapore (September 6, 2012)
Global Times – Chinese premier calls for further cooperation with Singapore (September 7, 2012)
People’s Daily – repeated articles from Xinhua

Singapore state media
Straits Times – China ‘faces challenges within itself
Today Online – From economic ties to traffic management: PM Lee highlights how bilateral cooperation between China and Singapore has evolved at end of official visit

Facing west, however – A report by the two million-readership New Yorker (September 7, 2012) featured the headline Singaporean Tells China U.S. Is Not in Decline. It focused on the Singapore prime minister’s speech (first was in 2005) at the Central Party School under the theme “China and the World – Prospering and Progressing Together“.

BEIJING — In an unusual public airing of strategic problems surrounding China’s rise, the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, warned China on Thursday that it should view the United States not as a declining power, but as a nation with the ability to innovate and bounce back.

Is Singapore in a position to ‘warn‘ China? Many years ago, what Lee Kuan Yew had to say, Deng Xiaoping was stirred to listen.

But at best, it represented a scalable model where authoritarian capitalism (with some room for deliberation) could work in, albeit in a very finite space of just 600+km2. For twenty years since official ties were made the Chinese have been sending its mayors to Singapore for training That is probably one of the few valued contributions Singapore can provide in the mind of the Chinese. Further down the road, does the relationship between the younger Lee and China simply carry the same resonance? Perhaps what is lacking is the interpersonal relationship with key figures that his father had.

Indeed, the little red dot requires a myriad of interlocking regional strategic engagements to keep it safe – it has to stay ‘as neutral as possible’ despite its obvious Chinese-majority population and ruling class while providing the US naval support since the 60s.

Here is a link to the full speech here (in Chinese with the English translation)-
I think the NY Times does stir with fourth estate dyslexia by couching the speech as a warning.

A scan of the speech will reveal the overarching theme is interdependence and some pointers Lee Hsien-Loong sees as necessary bilateral Sino-US ingredients for a stable environment for Singapore to continue to thrive. With a minute domestic market dependent on imports for natural resources, Singapore’s ingredient for survival is to avoid and help manage conflict at all cost. So – Warning, it is not.

It hardly makes sense for Singapore to stand up to, for there is little strategic leverage in, ‘warning’ China. It understands China’s position as it shares cultural traits and arguably a lasting one-party model (China’s from 1949, Singapore’s from 1965). However, by tapping on memories of its long history of western education since 1819, the Singaporean perspective can offer useful pointers on keeping an East-West equilibrium for the region.

Thoughtful Americans, both Democrat and Republican, also understand that any attempt to contain China is doomed to fail. US-China relations in the 21st century cannot be compared to ties between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Trade between the US and Soviet Union was negligible, and nuclear deterrence was the primary stabilising factor. Today, China and the US are profoundly intertwined, and their relationship is stabilised by mutual economic dependence. The US cannot hold China back without hurting itself at the same time. Neither would European or Asian countries join such a misguided effort to contain China. My Foreign Minister stated this view clearly in a widely reported speech in Washington earlier this year, a view which many American officials accepted. Ultimately, both China and the US must develop a new modus vivendi that reflects current realities and benefits both sides.  Lee Hsien-Loong, at the Central Party School

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China ‘faces challenges within itself’
This is an excerpt from a transcript of a dialogue Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had with senior Chinese party officials at the Central Party School in Beijing on Thursday.
Source – Straits Times, published September 8, 2012

China and Singapore started the Tianjin Eco-City project in 2007. PM Lee said Singapore would like its cooperation with China ”to develop into new areas which are relevant to both sides as our societies change”. — ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG

Bilateral ties between China and Singapore are good, but both countries have differing views on some important regional and global issues. How do you think we can communicate and work better on these issues? How do you see the relationship between Singapore and China going forward?

PM Lee: China is a big country growing rapidly. Singapore is a small country also seeking to prosper in Asia. We wish Asia to be stable, and the region to be open and prosperous together.

Nobody wants to see a conflict in the South China Sea, but our position cannot be the same as China’s position simply because China is a claimant-state. Singapore is not a claimant-state. Therefore Singapore cannot take sides or judge the merits of the different claims to the South China Sea. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Channel News Asia, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, East China Sea, Economics, Environment, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Hu Jintao, Influence, International Relations, Media, New York Times, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Singapore, Soft Power, South China Sea, Straits Times, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S., , , , , , , , , ,

S’pore welcomes resident pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia [Straits Times]

2,000 miles onboard a Singapore Airlines flight and Sino-Singapore panda diplomacy will be set in place/exerted for the next ten years. Will it help defuse some of the anti-Chinese vitriol on an increasingly compact island-state?

Caricature: Singapore’s local Orang Utans rubbing in the anti-foreign talent spiel to the Chinese pandas. Source – by Ching Choon Hiong, The New Paper, Singapore

 

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S’pore welcomes resident pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia Photo Gallery
by Jessica Lim
Source – Straits Times, published September 7, 2012

Airside crew securing the cage holding Jia Jia who was loaded after Kai Kai on board the Singapore Airlines cargo plane at the tarmac of Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport Cargo Terminal. — ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Unveiling of pandas Kai Kai (left) and Jia Jia (right) before VIPs and media on the tarmac of Freighter Bay 509 on Sept 6, 2012. They flew over 2,000 miles via Singapore Airlines Cargo from Chengdu to their new home in Singapore. — ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Please click here to access the full gallery at Singapore’s national broadsheet.

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Panda Diplomacy, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Science, Singapore, Soft Power, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , ,

China and the map of nine dotted lines [Straits Times]

China’s behaviour toward actors in the South China Sea certainly go contrary against their peaceful development rhetoric. And it seems categorising their territorial disputes as domestic affairs has become fashionable. This comes in from Singapore’s Straits Times as we turn the pages of history with Wang Gungwu who looks at how the Chinese in a sense, did not feel the need for naval superiority in the open seas, until recently.

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China and the map of nine dotted lines
by Wang Gungwu for the Straits Times
Source – Straits Times, published July 11, 2012

THERE has been much debate about the Chinese map of the South China Sea with its nine dotted lines denoting an area where China believes it has legitimate claims. How these lines came about has been a subject of much speculation.

What is clear is that the lines marking Chinese interests were drawn after World War II when Nationalist China saw the end of Japanese naval power and watched the Western imperial powers leaving the region or being forced to decolonise. After 1949, the successor state, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), retained the map to show its territorial limits.

During the Cold War that followed, moves were made by new states in the region to register territorial claims, but the Chinese map seemed to have aroused little international interest. Far greater matters of how the world was to be divided were at stake. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Map, Mapping Feelings, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Philippines, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, South China Sea, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , ,

What Asean wants: Powerful, peaceful, rich China [Straits Times]

The hard and simple truth – will will prefer to deal with a weak and disgruntled China? Professor Tommy Koh Is a Singaporean diplomat and scholar who has an East-West bridge of first hand knowledge on China and the world. written originally for the Global Times it reflects sensibilities addressing a Chinese audience with a subtext perhaps alluding that the Chinese should remember the old ways in dealing with its current territorial disputes with the South China Sea.

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What Asean wants: Powerful, peaceful, rich China
By Tommy Koh, For The Straits Times
Source – Straits Times, published July 4, 2012

MOST of the Asean countries have a benign view of China. This is based in part on their reading of Chinese history and, in part, on the behaviour of China in the past 20 years.

Our understanding of Chinese history leads us to conclude that, except for the two periods when China was ruled by the Mongols in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and the Manchus under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was not an aggressive or expansionist state. On the contrary, China was frequently invaded by foreigners. Its preoccupation has been to defend its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

China’s relations with South- east Asia go back many centuries. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the kings and sultans of South-east Asia acknowledged China as the superior power and civilisation. They sought China’s protection and rendered tribute to the Chinese emperors. A sultan of Sulu and a sultan of Brunei, for example, died while they were in China. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, , , ,

Singaporeans hooked on Chinese microblogging site Weibo [Straits Times]

From Singapore’s Straits Times – Singaporeans catching on to the 250 million strong Chinese version of Twitter.

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Singaporeans hooked on Chinese microblogging site Weibo
by Aw Cheng Wei
Source – Straits Times Breaking News, published March 2, 2012 

NTU undergraduate Cassandra Eng. Source - Straits Times

BEIJING – When housewife Ivy Koh joined Sina Weibo about two years ago, she was one of the few Singaporeans on the popular Chinese microblogging site.

She did it to follow sharp-tongued Taiwanese host Dee Hsu.

These days though, more Singaporeans are joining the Weibo party, drawn by stars from the Chinese pop scene and the service’s user-friendly features, which are a mix of what’s available on Twitter as well as Facebook.

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Influence, Internet, Media, People, Singapore, Social, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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