| Newsletter No. 16
of the second Republic of East Turkestan in 1944
National Day of East Turkestan
110th Birthday of Muhammad Amin
Uyghur Political Prisoners
Mehbube Ablesh's and Abdulghani Memetemin's Prison
Uyghur PEN: The Plight of
Uyghur Imprisoned Writers
Freedom March in Berlin, Paris, Rome
Demonstration Salzburg and Vienna
Kadeer in Norway
Uyghur Association: Lecture "Imagining Terrorism"
Members Lobby Dutch Government On China
Seminar on Nationality and Democracy
UN Forum on Minority Issues,
EP Subcommittee on Human Rights
Hearing on China
Anniversary of Karamay Tragedy
Symposium by Vaclav Havel
Library in Prague
Cultural Bazaar Munich
Media Articles and reports on Uyghur Related Issues
STP: New Chinese Anti-Terror
Law Authorizes Crack Down on Uyghurs
Testimony on China’s Political
Prisoners before the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Uyghur Refugee Threatened by
CECC Article: Students in East
Turkestan Continue to Harvest Cotton
Day of East Turkestan
Since the foundation of the first
Islamic East Turkestan Republic on 12 November 1933 and the second East
Turkestan Republic in 1945 in Ghulja, the people of East Turkestan
consider 12 November as National Day of East Turkestan and have been
cherishing the memory of their forefather's who fought for the freedom
of the Uyghur nation.
in 1933 and 1944, the Uyghurs were successful in setting up an
independent Islamic Eastern Turkestan republic. But these independent
Islamic Republics were overthrown by the military intervention and
political intrigues of the Soviet Union. It was in fact the Soviet
Union that proved a deterrent to the Uyghur independence movement
throughout this period. In 1949 the Nationalist Chinese were defeated
by the Chinese communists. After that, East Turkestan fell under
Chinese communist rule.
The WUC and its member organizations all around the world organized
different kinds of activities to commemorate the establishment of the
East Turkestan Republics.
The following activities took place this
The East Turkestan Australian Association (ETAA) organized an event on
12 November in Adelaide to commemorate the
establishment of East
Turkestan Republics. In addition to more than 500 Uyghurs from
Australia, a number Members of the South Australian Parliament attended
the event as guests of honor. WUC vice president Hussen Hesen,
president of the ETAA and the Uyghur Australian Association as well as
the members of the South Australian Parliament made speeches during the
Organized by the East Turkestan
Union in Europe (ETUE), a commemoration
event took place in Munich on 13 November. More than
including Uyghurs from Munich, the former president of the WUC Erkin
Alptekin, the president of the former East Turkestan National Congress,
the Director of the East Turkestan Information Center, members of the
WUC Standing Committee as well guests from Belgium and Netherlands
Followed by the speeches from the WUC vice president Asgar Can, Erkin
Alptekin, and the WUC General Secretary Dolkun Isa, Uyghur music and
dance were performed by young Uyghur musicians and
dancers from Munich
and the Netherlands. During the event, the ETUE also awarded Uyghur
youths in Germany who will start to study at German universities and
the members of the Germany Uyghur youth football team with a special
prize for their excellent achievements during the recent "Freedom Cup"
Uyghur Youth Football Championship in late July in Netherlands
organized by the WUC.
The Japanese Uyghur Association commemorated the establishment of the
East Turkestan Republics on 12 November in Tokyo.
Organized by the WUC representative in Kazakhstan, Uyghurs in the
Kazakh capital Almaty commemorated the
establishment of the East
Turkestan Republics on 12 November. WUC vice president Khahriman
Hojamberdiyev made a speech during the event and briefed the
participants on the recent activities of WUC's international campaign
for freedom, human rights and democracy for the Uyghur people.
On 11 November, organized by the Kyrgyzstan Uyghur Union, more than 200
people including Uyghurs in Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and veterans of the
revolution that led to establish the second East Turkestan Republic in
1945, gathered in Bishkek to commemorate the both important events of
the recent Uyghur history.
Organized by the East Turkestan Education Association in Europe, more
than 100 Uyghurs living in Netherlands gathered in the Dutch city
Haarlem to celebrate the
establishment of East Turkestan Republics and
the traditional Muslim festival Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) on
Organized by the Norway Uyghur Committee (NUC), more than 50 Uyghurs
gathered together in Norwegian capital Oslo on 12 October to
commemorate the two East Turkestan Republics. Followed by the speech of
the NUC president, a documentary film about the history of the
Republics was presented. Uyghur musicians in Norway also performed
Uyghur music especially made for this special day.
More than 100 Uyghurs attended an event organized by the Sweden Uyghur
Committee on 12 November in Stockholm to commemorate the
establishment of the East
Turkestan Republics. A documentary about the history of two East
Turkestan republics was presented during the event to educate
especially the youth attendees about the meaning of the important event
in the recent Uyghur history.
On 12 November, The East Turkestan Foundation,
The East Turkestan
Education and Solidarity Association and East Turkestan Youth
Association jointly organized a symposium at the municipality building
of the Zeytinburnu district in Istanbul. During the event which
opened with a documentary film presentation about the life of Muhammad
Emin Bughra, a number of scholars including Prof. Dr. Alimjan
from the Turkish World Research Institute of the Ege University, Dr.
Erkin Emet from the Langue and Literature Faculty of the University of
Ankara as well as Dr. Abdullah Bikir from the Süleyman Demirel
University presented academic papers about the life and leadership
personality of Muhammad Amin Bughra. More than a 150 people attended
More than 200 Uyghurs gathered in the Washington, DC on 12 November to
commemorate the day of establishment of the former East Turkestan
Republics and the traditional Muslim festival Eid al-Adha (Festival of
Sacrifice). WUC president Rebiya Kadeer presented a speech during the
event which was jointly organized by the Uyghur American Association
and the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation, to
emphasize the historic meaning of the former East Turkestan Republics
and call the Uyghurs to make more efforts for continue the
international campaign for freedom, human rights and democracy for the
Birthday of Muhammad Amin Bughra
Uyghurs all around the world
marked the 110th birthday Muhammad Amin Bughra in November 2011.
Amin Bughra, the founding father of the first East Turkestan Republic,
was born in an ordinary Uyghur family in 1901 in Hotan, the seat of the
Hotan Prefecture of East Turkestan. He finished the elementary school
when he was 9 and received religious education at the local Madrasa in
Hotan until the age of 21. He mastered in Arabic and Farsi languages.
He lectured on holy Quran and Hadith in several Madrases in Karakash
region of Hotan between 1922 and 1933.
As being an excellent speaker with a deep knowledge in religion and
poetry as well as a man with great social competence, he received
enormous respect from a wide range of local population and he was
honored with the "Hadrat" title. As a reformist, he had emphasized his
students the importance of equipping with knowledge of modern sciences
during his time as lecturer at Madrassahs and actively supported the
educational reform movement.
After a long quest to bring his people freedom and end the Chinese
repression, Muhammad Amin Bughra together with his brothers Abdullah
and Nur Ahmad, and a number of similarly minded friends and his
students he founded the Committee for National Revolution beginning of
Muhammad Amin Bughra led the uprising in Hotan and succeeded in
establishing the independent Hotan Emirate in 1933, which was the main
founding force behind the First East Turkestan Republic on 12 November
1933 which lasted until 6 February 1934.
In 1949, when the Chinese People's Liberation Army invaded East
Turkestan, Muhammad Amin Bughra fled to India, then to Turkey, where he
joined another exiled Uyghur leader, Isa Yusuf Alptekin, who headed the
First East Turkestan Republic. Muhammad Amin Bughra died in exile in
Turkey in 1965.
Political Prisoners Mehbube Ablesh's and Abdulghani Memetemin's Prison
The prison sentences of two
Uyghur political prisoners in East Turkestan have expired in summer
2011. However, it is unclear if they have actually been released or
Ablesh completed a three-year prison sentence for
"splittism" around August 2011. Authorities handed down the prison
sentence in apparent connection to her criticism of Chinese government
policies, including Mandarin-focused "bilingual" education. Under
Article 47 of China's Criminal Law, each day in custody counts as one
day served of a prison sentence. Although the precise date of Mehbube
Ablesh's detention is not known, if authorities followed the law in
calculating her sentence from the day around August 2008 when she
appears to have been detained, her sentence would have expired on the
same date in 2011.
Memetemin completed a nine-year prison sentence in late
July for "supplying state secrets" to an overseas group. He had sent
information on human rights abuses and translations of Chinese
government speeches to an organization in Germany that monitors rights
violations against Uyghurs. He was due for release on 25 July 2011,
however also in his case, the WUC so far has not been able to confirm
Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) published an article
on their possible release on 18 October 2011:
Uyghur Political Prisoners Mehbube Ablesh's
and Abdulghani Memetemin's Prison Sentences Expire
CECC, 18 October 2011
their profile in WUC´s political prisoner database, see:
PEN: The Plight of Uyghur Imprisoned Writers
15th November is PEN
International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. There are hundreds of
writers worldwide who are imprisoned or harassed solely because of
their work. The Uyghur PEN Centre added its voices
to this special day by urging all International PEN Centres and other
international human rights organizations to pay attention once more to
the plight of the imprisoned Uyghur writers in East Turkestan and
condemn China’s brutal crackdown on Uyghur writers, journalists and
webmasters. The Uyghur PEN estimates that more than 400 Uyghur
intellectuals, including writers, journalists, web masters, and
bloggers are still in Chinese jails, arrested in the aftermath of the
5th July 2009 ethnic conflict in Urumqi. However, it is impossible to
confirm this estimate because of the Chinese government’s lack of
transparency and accountability.
Freedom March in Berlin, Paris, Rome
4th International March for Freedom of Oppressed Minorities and Peoples
- a silent demonstration, organized by Società Libera, aims to denounce
the absence of freedom that many Peoples and Minorities have to endure,
and to give a wider visibility to the commitment of whoever is fighting
for freedom in the world- was held successfully on 22 October at the
same time in the cities of Berlin, Paris and Rome.
Representing the Uyghur people, the WUC mobilized Uyghur communities in
Berlin and Paris to participate in this joint demonstration along with
members of the Tibetan, Vietnamese, Burmese, Cabinda as well as Iranian
communities as well as members of international human rights
organizations. As a guest of honor, WUC President Rebiya Kadeer
participated in the demonstration in Rome, where she has also met with
representatives of international human rights organizations.
Photo galleries of all marches held on 22
Demonstration Salzburg and Vienna
Kadeer in Norway
Kadeer began her several
days long Norwegian working visit in Begen on 31 October, where
warmly received at the airport by representatives of the Rafto
Foundation and Uyghur community in Norway.
Ms. Kadeer held a meeting with high level officials of Norwegian
immigration authority on 1
November. She gave a briefing on the current
situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan and made a productive
discussion over the current situation of Uyghur refugees in Norway.
As a Rafto Laureate, Ms. Kadeer has attended series of events in Bergen
in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of Rafto prize. She attended
the Lotus Flower opening ceremony on 2 November, which is
event of the Rafto Prize 25th Anniversary.
Ms. Kadeer met with high level Norwegian officials including the Major
Ms. Kadeer also attended the first session of the Rafto Prize Symposium
on 4 November as a guest speaker and briefed on the worsening human
rights situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkestan.
Uyghur Association: Lecture "Imagining Terrorism"
On 12 November, the Japan
Uyghur Association hosted a lecture meeting by Dr. Sean R
Roberts (associate professor of George Washington University) entitled
"Imagining Terrorism: Myths and Realities about the Uyghur Terrorist
Threat and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement”. On 12 Nov. 1933 and
1944, the Republic of East Turkistan declared its independence. Even
though these two republics were short-lived, they still exist as
ethnical symbol of Uyghur people under China's suppression.
and Members Lobby Dutch Government On China
On 16 November, the
Foreign Affairs Committee of Dutch Parliament held a general meeting
concerning China and Dutch-Chinese relations. As part of its Dutch
lobbying program, UNPO engaged in advocacy through
multiple outlets in advance of this meeting in an effort to ensure that
the issues of UNPO Members in China would be raised.
One of the issues UNPO raised in advance of the meeting was that of
Uyghur asylum-seekers in the Netherlands. Dutch authorities have been
placing significant pressure to “voluntarily” return to China on
several Uyghurs who have been denied asylum multiple times by Dutch
courts. A report by Uyghur Human Rights Project titled ‘They Can’t Send me Back: Uyghur Asylum
Seekers in Europe,’ shows that the Netherlands is one of the
few European countries in which Uyghur asylum seekers are facing a
forced return to China. UNPO firmly condemns this policy, given that
Uyghurs in China face not only political, economic and social
oppression, but also torture, arbitrary arrests, intimidation and
persecution. Those who have sought asylum outside of China are at
particular risk of abuse once they are returned, and for this reason it
is widely recognized that sending Uyghurs back to China puts them at
In an effort to draw greater attention to these concerns, UNPO sent a
letter to the attending Members of Parliament, asking them to raise the
issues of human rights and minority rights, and especially the case of
Uyghur asylum seekers in the Netherlands, in their individual comments
and questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The letter served as
an urgent appeal to Dutch Government to acknowledge the severity of
oppression and human rights violations in China and the danger Uyghurs
are in upon return.
UNPO also attended the Parliamentary meeting as an observer, and was
pleased to find that human rights were indeed high on the agenda of the
meeting - the call to take the human rights situation into account in
all Dutch-Chinese relations was made by almost every MP. Special
attention was given to freedom of religion and freedom of speech of
minority groups, including the Uyghurs and Tibetans..
International Seminar on Nationality and Democracy
WUC Secretary General Dolkun
Isa will attend the Mongolian-Chinese International Seminar on
Nationality and Democracy will be held on 21-22 November 2011
in Leverkusen, Germany. The event is initiated and sponsored by the
Seminar Preparatory Group. Focusing on the ethnic issue between
Mongolians and Han Chinese in China, the seminar will review the CPC’s
ethnic policy and ethnic relations in China in the past six decades,
exposing the failure of China’s ethnic policy and recognizing that
under the authoritarian system the ethnic problems can never be solved,
and that only democratic system can provide a solution to the ethnic
problems in China.
UN Forum on Minority Issues, Geneva
On 29 and 30 November,
the fourth session of the UN Forum on Minority
Issues will take place in Geneva, Switzerland. The main
focus of this year´s forum is “Guaranteeing the rights of minority
women”. Members of the WUC leadership, including WUC President Rebiya
Kadeer, will participate in a UNPO (www.unpo.org) delegation to attend.
EP Subcommittee on Human Rights Hearing on
December, the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European
Parliament in Brussels will hold a hearing on “Human Rights in China
and the role of the European Union following the last meeting of the EU
China Human Rights Dialogue”. The programme includes among others
Barbara Lochbihler (Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights), Sophie
Richardson (Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch), Sharom Hom
(Executive Director, Human Rights in China), Mehmet Tohti (Special
Representative, WUC to the European Union) and Ray Murphy (Acting
Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights).
The hearing can be followed online here.
Anniversary of Karamay Tragedy
December 2011 marks the 17th Anniversary of the tragic fire accident
in Karamay, East Turkestan. On 8 December 1994, Karamay's
Friendship Hall was the site of a horrible tragedy: nearly 800 grade
and middle-school students and their teachers, hand-picked to entertain
a delegation of education officials, were in the midst of a performance
when a fire broke out in the hall. The students were instructed to
remain in their seats so that the visiting executives could exit first.
By the time the fire had been contained, 323 people had perished, 288
of them children between the ages of 6 and 14. All of the officials
survived. After the tragedy, the story was heavily censored in the
Chinese state media. To this day, the families of Karamay have not been
allowed to publicly mourn their children.
A documentary film entitled “Karamay” about this tragic accident by
film maker Xu Xin had its premiere in 2010. Xu Xin spent several years
to made this documentary using unpublished and mostly "secret" film
materials which were regarded by the Chinese government very sensitive
issue. He also made interviews with the parents who have lost their
children during this tragic event.
Symposium by Vaclav Havel Library in Prague
On 9 December 2011, the
symposium "Epoch-Making Power of Free Speech" organized by Vaclav
Havel Library will take place in Prague. WUC Secretary
General Dolkun Isa is invited to participate in the "Evening of
Cultural Bazaar Munich
On 9 December, the 7th Cultural Bazaar will taking
place in Munich, Germany. In the Bazaar a part from the Uygur Women
Association Germany and the Munich based Uyghur Youth Dance Group over
20 cultural and activist groups will participate. The groups will
present their culture through handcrafts, music and dance.
Location: EineWeltHaus, Schwanthalerstr. 80, Munich
Organizer: Multicultural Meeting in cooperation with North South Forum
Information: Harald Hackländer, firstname.lastname@example.org
AND REPORTS ON UYGHUR RELATED ISSUES
STP: New Chinese Anti-Terror Law Authorizes
Crack Down on Uyghurs
for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that the new anti-terror
laws in China will make the persecution of Uyghurs and dissidents
easier - rather than protect critics. "The controversial law gives the
impression of a pseudo rule of law, because the term "terrorism" is so
broadly defined that even Uyghur opposition members may randomly
prosecuted as "terrorists" now," said the STP's expert on questions
regarding Asia, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Monday. Especially
members of the Muslim minority and their organizations are collectively
accused of terrorism by the Chinese security authorities. On Saturday,
the new anti-terror laws were approved by the Standing Committee of the
National People's Congress and are now legally enforceable.
"We fear that the Chinese authorities will use the new laws to gain
more international support in fighting the Uyghur government critics in
the autonomous region of Xinjiang," said Delius. "Nevertheless, the
increasing riots in north-western China are based on home-made problems
and - so far - have nothing to do with international terrorism."
Accordingly, foreign security experts tend not to recognize China's
struggle against Uyghur human rights activists and dissidents as part
of the global anti-terror war.
So far, suspected terrorists were mostly charged of threatening state
security "but with the new laws, China initially defines a concept of
"terrorism". The term includes all activities that endanger public
order and safety or put pressure on government bodies and international
organizations that might negatively affect society or cause economic
losses. Also, the mere promotion or support of such activities is
“terrorism” according to the new laws.
Within the next weeks, the Chinese Ministry of State Security will
publish a new list of organizations suspected of "terrorism". "We
expect that all leading Uyghur human rights organizations will appear
on this list " by which the Chinese leadership would lead the general
idea of international anti-terror campaigns to absurdity." The efforts
to establish military bases in the border area between Pakistan and
Xinjiang show how intensely Beijing is fighting Uyghur dissidents.
Seeking Counter-Uighur Military Bases In Pakistan?
Eurasianet, 25 Oct 2011
New Laws to Crack Down on Uyghurs
IPS News, 27 Oct 2011
China clarifies terrorism definition in
hopes of winning international backing
Washinton Post, 29 Oct 2011
Anti-Terror Law Changes Raise Concern
RFA, 02 Nov 2011
on China’s political prisoners before the Committee on Foreign Affairs
On 3 November, Dui Hua
Foundation´s Executive Director John Kamm gave a testimony before the Committee on
Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives. The hearing will focus
on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s 2011 Annual
Report. Kamm presented information on China’s political prisoners,
including Uyghur political prisoners, and spoke about China’s
dual-track justice system, which singles out political prisoners for
separate and unequal treatment.
Refugee Threatened by Pro-Chinese Groups
According to a 6 November RFA article, a
Pakistan-born Uyghur who fled to Afghanistan after being harassed for
rejecting China’s offer to be a spy says he is facing pressure from
Beijing-friendly groups to return to Pakistan. Kamirdin Abdurahman, 43,
was given refugee status last month in Afghanistan by the office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly two years
after he fled to the neighboring country following threats he received
for refusing to spy for Beijing on the activities of Uyghurs in
Pakistan. Soon thereafter he started to receive phone calls and also
visits from pro-Chinese groups in Pakistan, urging him to give up his
refugee status. Abdurahman refused, but fears that the pressure will
Article: Students in East Turkestan Continue to Harvest Cotton
On 14 November, the
Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) published an article entitled “Xinjiang
Students Continue to Harvest Cotton, Directive Allows Child Labor”.
Education authorities in Xinjiang have continued to require students to
pick cotton during the fall harvest, in some cases violating permitted
parameters for "work-study" programs as stipulated in local directives,
as well as contravening domestic and international standards regulating
students' work activities and prohibiting child labor. Xinjiang
authorities announced in 2008 that students in junior high and lower
grades would no longer pick cotton in work-study programs, but issued a
directive in 2009 that appears to affirm that younger students may
continue to engage in cotton harvesting and other labor as part of work
to "help with agriculture," despite the prohibitions against child
labor in Chinese law. Reports from the past year indicate that some
localities used these younger students to harvest cotton. Xinjiang high
schools and colleges continued to make older students pick cotton in
work-study programs, in some reported cases exceeding the permitted
time period for work-study under local directives and in one reported
case levying fines on students who didn't meet quotas. Work-study
programs and cotton-picking activities have drawn complaints from
students and parents due to the hazards of the work and effect on
children's education. The use of student labor this year comes as the
region reported difficulties in recruiting regular agricultural workers
to pick cotton.
/ East Turkestan
are indigenous to East Turkestan [also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur
Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China]. For many years, the
Chinese government has waged an intense and often brutal campaign to
repress all forms of Uyghur dissent, crack down on Uyghurs’ peaceful
religious activities and independent expressions of ethnicity, dilute
Uyghurs’ culture and identity as a distinct people, and threaten the
survival of the Uyghur language.
authorities have routinely equated Uyghurs’ peaceful political,
religious, and cultural activities with the “three evils” – terrorism,
separatism and religious extremism – and have couched their persecution
of the Uyghurs as efforts to quash these “three evils.” The authorities
have also economically marginalized the Uyghurs in East Turkestan
through intense and blatant racial discrimination in employment.
are a Turkic people and have long practiced a moderate,
traditional form of Sunni Islam, strongly imbued with the folklore and
traditions of a rural, oasis-dwelling population.
Turkestan lies in the very heart of Asia. Situated along the fabled
ancient Silk Road, it has been a prominent centre of commerce for more
than 2000 years. The current territorial size of East Turkestan is 1.82
million square kilometers. The neighboring Chinese province annexed
part of the territory as a result of the Chinese communist invasion of
East Turkestan borders with China and Mongolia to the east, Russia to
the north, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan
and India to the west, and Tibet to the south.
to latest Chinese census in 2010, the current population of East
Turkestan is 21.81 million including 8.75 million ethnic Han Chinese
(40,1%) illegal settled in East Turkestan after 1949 (the ethnic Han
Chinese numbered 200,000 in 1949). The Uyghurs make up around 10.2
million Uyghurs (according to the 2000 census; the numbers for 2010
have not been published yet) and constitute still the majority of East
Turkestan. However, the population shifts more and more in favor of the
Han Chinese and make the Uyghurs strangers in their own land. However,
Uyghur sources put the real population of Uyghurs around 20 million.
of 5 July 2009
human rights situation of the Uyghur population in East Turkestan has
been dire for decades and has even worsened since the July 2009 protest
and ethnic unrest in Urumqi, the capital of East Turkestan.
The July 2009 protest began with a peaceful demonstration by Uyghurs in
Urumqi that was brutally and lethally suppressed by Chinese security
forces. The Uyghurs were protesting against a lack of government action
in regard to a deadly attack on Uyghur factory workers in Shaoguan,
Guangdong Province in the south of China. The violent and illegal
reaction of the Chinese security forces to the peaceful protest led
then to ethnic violence and riots between Uyghurs and Han Chinese,
during which hundreds of Uyghur and Han Chinese civilians were killed.
According to data published by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, 197
people were killed, but the World Uyghur Congress estimates – based on
eyewitness reports - that more than 1000 people died in the riots.
However, until today, the exact death toll on both sides is not clear
since so far no independent investigation of these events has been
|ABOUT THE WORLD UYGHUR CONGRESS
World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an international umbrella organization
that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in
East Turkestan and abroad and promotes Uyghur human rights and a
peaceful and non-violent solution based on rule of law for the conflict
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