East Turkestan, A Forgotten Muslim Nation Under Occupation
May 20, 2007
Umm Saad | Jihad Unspunhttp://www.jihaduns pun.com/
For over 200 years of occupation, living under draconian laws worse than Britain, oppression worse than Palestine, and slaughter worse than Nazi Germany, the Muslims of East Turkestan are a forgotten nation, living a hellish existence under Chinese occupation as this special report by JUS correspondent Umm Saad brings to the forefront.
The soil of this land is gold, its rivers are oil, its stones gems and diamonds, and its reserves silver, uranium and other rare riches. Its winds blow steadily from the mountains that rise mightily over the valleys in which the residents reside. Its farms are a paint of deep green; its rivers hop over stones leaving foams and trails of the neatness of pure and fresh waters… the creation of Allah who perfected everything.
To one side you will find mountains standing firm like gallant warriors… and to the other deserts far and wide, with mirages watering its distant points at every angle…and yet to another, a dark industrial life rising like a giant monster to destroy the unique picturesque combination of the very serene land.
The tradition of this land is not alien to you, their language written in Arabic script, their dress code of turbans and head scarves… almost Arabic as well and their religion… well! It’s Islam.
This is the land of Uyghuristan (pronounced as wee-ghur-istan) or East Turkestan, as is commonly known. In the past it had great stories to tell and extra ordinary events to boast about, but today East Turkestan has only long painful and bloodcurdling tragedies to relate.
And then I open my heart for memories –
Of that glory that was and has now faded away
Like many lands of Muslims today, East Turkestan is an occupied land. However, the oppressors here are more open and daring than their likes in other lands. In a race to wipe out everything that East Turkestan stands for… it is being transformed, using oppression up to the very name. Today, East Turkestan is known as XinJiang, crowned as the “New territory”, 19th in the Chinese control and oppression. Two hundred years ago, East Turkestan was a blooming nation that filled the eyes and ears of the world. Islamic knowledge, art and tradition were at their peak in this land, rich in everything … most importantly with practicing Muslims.
But since then, something seems to be disappearing. Somewhere, some thing has gone wrong… did this nation just die away? Is East Turkestan really a Chinese territory as China claims? Who are the real people of East Turkestan?
If the world map has wiped the boundaries and our enemies have changed its name… is it that East Turkestan has been wiped form our minds and memories as well? Has East Turkestan really become a forgotten nation?
East Turkestan Today
Today, East Turkestan is doesn’t exist according to the world map, in fact Xin Jiang is hardly visible itself. Where once stood a gallant Islamic emirate now stands a Godless, faithless regime claiming power over a land that has nothing to do with the Chinese culture or people.
The Uyghurs are a Turkic people for centuries. If you make a Turkestan in mid Asia, East Turkestan will be the part now known as Xin Jiang and the West Turkestan would comprise of what has been sliced into Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Krygistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
Islam is deeply rooted in the lands of Turkestan as it has been an Islamic nation since the Arabs conquered it at the hands of great leaders like Qutaibah Bin Muslim Al Bahali 88 96 H. The Muslims who ruled Turkestan later on played a huge role in securing Islam into the hearts of people.
It is easy to see this fact in history. Throughout the Mansho occupation of East Turkestan, the Uyghur Muslims revolted more then 42 times in spite of the open bloodshed and transgression finally gaining their freedom. Today, the Chinese occupation is trying hard to snatch East Turkestan’s identity, with efforts underway to dissolve its magic and beauty, art, tradition and ethnicity and its peace and tranquility
Millions of Han Chinese have been forced into the west of East Turkestan. Lands have been seized lawlessly and Uyghurs are gradually being pushed out of their territory, destitute and jobless. The latest Chinese census puts the present population of Uyghur as slightly over 6 million. There are also 5,00,000 Uyghurs in Western Turkestan. Almost 1,50,000 Uyghurs have their homes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Western Europe and USA. But these statistics are faulty and lies. It is true that millions of Uyghurs have been exiled (and are now being demanded for execution) but the real number of Uyghurs is not 6 million… it is 25 million, a fact that is concealed by the Chinese occupation. That is all in spite of the forced birth controls and mass arrests, killings and executions of Muslims.
Apartheid is prevalent openly in East Turkestan. Uyghurs are treated as second grade people, inferior to the Chinese. Higher education and jobs are reserved for the Han Chinese only. The rate of cancer and child abnormality is disturbingly high in the area. Young men are taken prisoners without warrants, tortured and made to work in concentration camps… resources are exploited and traded for China’s benefit and nothing is given to the Uyghur Muslims.
Religious restrictions have been imposed randomly. Children not allowed to attend religious schools or be frequent to the mosques or fast at schools. Madrassahs and mosques are being shattered, scholars are being abused and imprisoned, the women harassed and mass public executions are carried out with the victims shot in the head.
Where are the Muslims then? Where are those who hear and reflect? Where are those who have hearts and understand?
Tears Of Blood
It has been over 200 years of occupation oscillating between freedom and oppression until 1949 when China pressed hard at East Turkestan and almost succeeded in gagging the people. Since then a half a million people have been killed. A hundred thousand have been sent to camps to work in unimaginable conditions and over 300,000 refugees have sought safety in the neighboring countries
The Chinese occupation is trying to force the Chinese culture on the Uyghur Muslims. It is forcing them to read, write, dress, eat, sing and dance like the Chinese. While China’s attack on Islam has been vicious since the very beginning but in the recent years it has intensified.
“Thousands of mosques were shuttered, imams were jailed, Uyghur’s who wore headscarves or other Muslim clothing were arrested, and during the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party purposely defiled mosques with pigs," wrote Kurlantzick. "Many Muslim leaders were simply shot. The Uyghur language was purged from school curricula, and thousands of Uyghur writers were arrested for 'advocating separatism'- -which often meant nothing more than writing in Uyghur.”
The after-effects of nuclear tests have caused a high rate of cancer among the population. The use of drugs and drinking are encouraged by the Chinese authorities to cause affliction on the Muslims. Food and medicine are all in short supply at high prices and the country is in a depressed economic condition. Unemployment is largely prevalent and those who are employed earn a meager living in the primary sectors of farming and building.
In addition, vast numbers of Chinese citizens are being transferred to the lands owned by Muslims and Muslims are gradually being kicked to the corners of cities. Arrests, house raids executions are all very normal. The latest report by the Amnesty International revealed that China is the country with the largest number of death sentences and of these, the largest number are carried out in Xin Jiang or our East Turkestan. There is a unprecedented assault on the spread of religious knowledge, with the goal to turn East Turkestan into a Chinese province and wipe the the Uyghur’s from the landscape.
Brad Adams Asia director for HRW and editor for the report, “Devastating blows: Religious repression of Uyghurs in Xin Jiang” sent a letter to the Chinese embassy in Washington requesting a meeting to discuss the findings of its new report. He said the letter was returned unopened with the word REJECTED handwritten on the envelope.
Religious Prohibitions And Harassment
At the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Chinese made its trade independent. From then on, the occupation hardened its stance on the Muslims and especially in East Turkestan where Islam is more visible in the culture and lives of the people. The aim was to dissolve them socially and traditionally into the Chinese protocol.
Beijing considers the Islamic schools and mosques as direct threat to its rule over East Turkestan and is ready to take ANY MEASURES to bring them under control. For example, the Zin Jiang daily magazine published on 21/6.1997 that the Chinese authorities broke down 133 mosques and closed 105 Islamic Madrassas.
In just the city of Qarqash in the Khotin district, the following mosques were shattered including Masjid Ostiang Boi, Masjid Yawag, MasjidFang Zing Yoli, Masjid 17 Dadoi, Masjid 18 Dadoi, Masjid Mazar Bashi, Masjid Kongshi Yoli,, Masjid Bojagji Yol, Masjid Sheherlek Yag Zadoi and Masjid Koya Korli
Recently in an open war on Islam, laws in the constitution have been passed including the policy of Strike Hard that led to the Gholja massacre. Other penalties perpetrated against the Muslims under the Strike Hard campaign are:
• All those who work for government organizations or Chinese communist agencies are forbidden to practice any religious ritual because the law forbids those affiliated to communism or government to believe in God or the Last Day or to practice any religious rite as these are absolutely against the communist beliefs.
(Special details on the religious and ethnic cases in the law- Noromji, pg133-1997)
• One Muslim told how he was working in a government office and his job was to bring food supplies to schools. And he was told that he had to either shave his beard off because it was a sign of being a Muslim, or quit his job. And because of the poor economic situation he chose to shave his beard off. (Prague, 12 April 2005 RFE/RL)
• Forbidding the Muslim youth under the age of 18 years from gaining religious knowledge in any form and punishing the teacher and the students by arresting or fining them. (Special details on the religious and ethnic cases in the law- Noromji pg 151-1997)
• Mrs Muhabbabat and her students who were studying the basics of Islam in the Khotin province were arrested on 10 December 2001. Every girl was punished with 300 Yuan and the teacher was charged with 7000 Yuan.
• Forbidding the young men and women form frequently attending the mosques and religious centers and learning the Quran. It is worth mentioning that this is allowed to other Muslims in China, other than the Uyghurs.
• At the time when Gholja was at the point of the sword, one of the clashes took place between Uyghur youth and the police who were stopping them form entering the mosques (1997).
• Pressing the youth and students of schools and institutes not to fast during the month of Ramadan by serving meals forcedly on the morning and firing or confining those who turn out to be fasting.
• The farmers who fast during the month of Ramadan are charged with 30 Yuan as tax. If they fail to pay it, they are forced to work for a month without being paid in Concentration Camps.
• Breaking down Mosques that are situated near the schools with the fear that the students or the teachers would visit them frequently and meet the scholars and the regular prayers and then righteousness would spread in the society
• Refusing Islamic education in institutes other that the governmental and only selected students are put in them. Any other scholar or student who studies Islam or learns Quran in the masjid or at his home is punished.
• For more than 20 million Uyghur Muslims there only one center for training scholars and preachers is present in Oromji. The number of students in them does not exceed forty.
• Forcing the scholars to read the Friday sermon from a book named “The new way of instructing and preaching” imposed by the Chinese agencies for monitoring the Islamic religion headed by Jin Koshin Ging published in Beijing on July 1, 2001. No scholar has the permission to quote anything outside it.
• Refusing the entry of religious books of any kind and burning them including 200 copies of the Holy Quran published in the Malik Fahd University in Madinah Munawarah in 1415 H/1995 AD sent as a gift to the Islamic University in Xin Jiang.
• China also undertook regulations to label any act of culture or religion as opposed to its policy and a crime, making changes to its laws including Section 114, 115, 120, 125, 191, 291 in its laws.
In spite of all these realities, the Chinese occupation still denies the oppression of the Muslims. In response to the HRW report titled “Devastating Blows: Religious repression of Uyghurs in Xin Jiang, a spokes-man for China, foreign ministry, Qin Gang said in a news conference held on 12 April 2005, “All ethnic groups in Xin Jiang, have religious freedom according to the constitution.”
If a Muslim is not allowed to pray with freedom, learn or read the Quran,, not allowed to fast, prevented from performing Hajj, what is religious freedom under the constitution but an open genocide?
The tough conditions in East Turkestan are reflected in the life of its greatest scholar, whose story exemplifies the pressure and pain Muslims who try to spread Islam face.
Arrest Of The Greatest Scholar Of The Time In East Turkestan
On January 2, 2004, the occupation forces entered the city and arrested the great scholar, Sheikh Abdul Ahad Barat Makhdoom, 74 years of age while he was lecturing seven of his students in one of his secret schools. The students and the house owner were also arrested and are still in detention, in the Central prison of the city. The Sheikh suffers from kidney disorders and his health is continuously collapsing. His only crime has been his duty towards his Lord, of teaching people religious knowledge.
The life of Sheikh Abdul Ahad has been full of trials, pain and struggle in the way of teaching Islam. He was born in Qarqash in 1930. He is the son of the sister of the great Turkestani Mujahid leader, the author of the book ‘East Turkestan History’, the famous sheikh Muhammad Ameen Bagra, who died in exile in Ankara in 1965.
He received his education in the prestigious Kashgir schools in the year 1950-1968. After his graduation he returned to Khotin City and started teaching. After only 6 months of his return itself, he was arrested by the Communist authorities charged with 15 years of imprisonment along with work because of his status as a scholar.
The sheikh came out after the period in 1974, and didn’t rest back until he began again on his long journey of teaching religious knowledge to people underground. This state continued until he succeeded in graduating 100 students in Islamic knowledge. The Sheikh was again arrested in 1979 in a famous campaign in which thousands of scholars all over East Turkestan were arrested. He was released after an year.
In 2001, Sheikh Abdul Ahad was arrested for a third time with his son, Sheikh Abd Ar Rauf and they were released two months later. Thereafter he was forbidden to address even a word to a gathering or to be a Imam in a Masjid. And he was sentenced to live under house arrest. But the Shiekh is a loved scholar and this is the fourth he is being arrested and for the same one reason. He has inked various books and translations but under different pen names.
The Chinese communists claim that the basis of their country is freedom of belief and religious tolerance. It is trying to improve its image before the Islamic world with this deceptive slogan but the reality in East Turkestan is the complete opposite.
The government employees are not allowed to pray and if it is proved that an employee prays he is fired form service after having to pay hug e fines. Youth under the age of 20 are not allowed to enter mosques. In 2002 the Chinese authorities performed what is called “Campaign for cleaning the forbidden publications” and burnt close to 40 000 copies of cultural political religious and explanatory writings including the translations of Quran.
The Health Crisis
The Chinese weren’t satisfied with the disasters that the nuclear explosions caused in the area of Lob Noor in East Turkestan, which served as a farm for experiments since 1964. There are no accurate estimates of the number of casualties due to the nuclear activities, some rate it to be about 200,000 deaths. These open nuclear tests continued till 1980 and were stopped as per official claims in 1996 at a number that crossed over 42 nuclear and hydrogen explosions. Obviously the effects of these explosions in civilian lives appeared very soon with widespread cancer and infant distortions at an alarming level.
In the global women’s conference held in Beijing in 1995, Dr. Kalia Moldogziara, a researcher in Bishkek university of Kazakhistan, said that the rate of cancer has reached 40% in west Kryghistan where it meets the East Turkestan border. That was at the end of May 1994 and is widely viewed to be caused by the underground nuclear tests in East Turkestan. She said that the children were increasingly suffering from psychological and heart disturbances.
If these were the effects of underground tests in a neighboring country, then one can only imagine that our Muslim brothers in East Turkestan, where the tests were carried out in the open, are suffering. The rate of cancer in East Turkestan is higher than anywhere else in China.
Moreover, the Chinese government uses the lack of health and religious consciousness among the people to spread drug and alcohols in the Muslim land. For example, in the city of Karami, alcohol was distributed r free to the Uyghur Muslims according to Freelists distributed by Keston News Service on March 10, 2002.
The researcher Justin Rudelson also mentioned in a report dated June 11, 2002 that in the city of Ili when the students tried to create awareness amongst the Muslims youth concerning the harmful effects of alcohol on the human body and requested the pubs to shut down and the shops to stop selling vine, the Chinese government fought the campaign with force, causing the death of 200 Muslim students (we hold them as Martyrs, may Allah grant them the status), in 1997
The trade route for drugs that stems from Myanmar and Thailand into what is called “The Golden Triangle” the districts of Yuinan, Shanghai and Kanso and from it to East Turkestan. It then meets up with the Mafia and spreads to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kryghistan etc before making its way to Europe, America etc. This route that passes from China is known as the black route and is mostly inhabited by Muslims. From there 80-100 tons of heroin No 4 is carried outward. Though drug dealers elsewhere in China face trial, those in the Muslim areas get the protection of the secret services. This has been proven through investigation done in the districts of Yuinan and in Changli camp that the XPCC uses these ways because the targets are Muslims.
For example, in the city of Linxia in the Kanso district, named by the Chinese Muslims as “Hui” or the small Mecca due to the excess of Islamic schools and mosques in it, is one of the major drug centers and are available everywhere at very cheap rate. In East Turkestan drugs are mixed in food stuff, common drinks presented in hotels etc. those afflicted with this killer disease of addiction now range up to 20% of the total Uyghur Muslim population and those below the age of 35 years constitute 80% of these. The Heroin, sold by the name of Baimian is not even 30% refined. Other drugs like Cocaine, Afion. Marijuana, Ephedrine etc are also sold.
The trade under government patronization started from around 1994 and brought with it the killer immune deficiency virus HIV. It is concluded from the fact that the report published in 1995 did not show even a single case of HIV virus. However in 1996, the Chinese researcher Zheng Ximen from the Chinese Academy of Preventive medicines said that one out of four of the drug addicts in East Turkestan test positive for AIDS.
In the recent years Uyghurs Muslims have become from the greatest sufferers from AIDS in China. In the beginning of 2003, the researcher Li Xiang from the special group for combating AIDS in the city of Aramji alone confirmed 303 new cases in September 2003. Researchers say that as high as 30% in East Turkestan make be infected, the highest in China.
Depopulation And Ethnic Cleansing
Chinese depopulation, ethnic cleansing or demographic manipulation, whatever you choose to call it, is underway with such force that the East Turkic culture is facing the threat of extinction today.
If we look at the history of imperialism in the world we will notice the fact that no nation or people have become extinct simply due to resisting occupation and imperialism. But there are nations facing near- extinction because of change in the population distribution. The occupation more than often employs what is called the depopulation policy to dissolve the religious cultural and patriotic feelings of those it occupies, forcing the culture religion and tradition of the occupiers on those it holds power over.
If we look at the history of imperialism in East Turkestan we will notice that in spite of the former occupation that controlled East Turkestan and practiced transgressions and mass murders heartlessly, none tried to transfer citizens into the area in large numbers but depended only upon its military strength. That is why Uyghur tradition and religion remained untouched and preserved. However the current occupation is doing an entirely different job. The communist regime is transferring millions of the Buddhist Chinese into East Turkestan at a time when the Muslims are detained in Concentration camps or are struggling at the primary levels of life
In 1950 there were 2,00,000 Han Chinese in East Turkestan. Today there is what exceeds 6 millions. The Chinese communists continue their policy of transferring thousands of the Chinese communists every day providing them with housing and jobs under the slogan “Xibu da Kaifa”, meaning, “Go to the west young man!”
In Korla an East Turkestani city, 750 Uyghur students studied with 1800 Chinese students. The government forced the students to study and give exams n Chinese. Only 75 Uyghur students were able to pass the exam. Wang li Guan, the secretary of the Communist Party in Xin Jiang, passed an open law on 9 March 2002 entitling all subjects to be taught in Chinese! That was done after arresting and suppressing the Muslim writers and publishers, like Torghan AL Mas and Tokhti Toniaz, who portrayed the true history of Uyghurs against the claims of the occupation.
The Chinese who settle in Uyghuristan treat the Uyghurs as second grade citizens…or even lesser than that. The mocking of Uyghur culture has become a common scene. The Chinese not only think of themselves as better citizens but also consider them selves the rulers of the land. That is why the Chinese citizens have been deeply involved in oppressing the Uyghur, with mass killings and putting down all the uprisings.
Uprisings And Massacres
Against the former occupation, the Muslim Uyghurs had revolted at least 42 times before gaining freedom. Uprising in their current trial are not less either, most of them concealed from the worlds eyes and ears.
However the massacres in this Muslim land are vastly more than the uprisings. More accurately stated, every uprising is followed by a series of massacres. Three notable uprisings have taken place; the Bareen uprising, the Khotan uprising and the Gholja uprising, the most notable.
Two incidents are widely reported about the Gholja uprising. In the month of Ramadan in the city of Gholja that lies to the left of the country, 30 scholars were arrested. As a result, students launched protests but the police interfered as usual and spread the crowd away violently. Next day an even greater crowd gathered. The result was deaths, arrests and concentration camps for some.
In another account, on the night of 27 Ramadan 1417H (Lailah al Qadr) the intelligence officers and police stood before the gates of the mosques and prevented the young men and women from entering the mosques to pray Taraweeh and Tahajjud. The Muslim youth then clashed with them and a huge uprising swallowed Ghulja. The army interfered, killed 300 and arrested 10,000 Muslims, including women and children. Eyewitnesses reported that the Muslims who were killed or injured were loaded into trucks brought for the purpose and carried away to their unknown fate.
Torture And Executions
After having secured the neighboring countries on 26 April 1996, under “the Shanghai five” meeting, later joined by Uzbekistan on 15 July 2001, China set up a center for countering terrorism in Bishkek, Krygistan. This set a comfortable stage for the Godless communists to commit their crimes and transgressions openly against the Uyghur Muslims. That is why East Turkestan is also called the Siberia of China today. There are countless camps in East Turkestan with countless workers.
These concentration camps are run by the Bin Tuan corporation, also known as XPCC and it constitute upto 228 million soldiers in concentration camps known as “ Lao Gai”, numbering 14 camps for indulging prisoners according to an official statement.
On July 11, 1997 Wang LE Juan, the secretary of Xin Jiang communist party wrote in Xin Jiang daily magazine, “The communist regime has arrested 17000 people in concentration for the Xin Jiang production and construction corporation (XPCC).” This is the only official statement.
Millions of families have some of its members missing. Executions are courtless and lawless, especially the Uyghurs who are returned to China to be executed without trials.
Is There Jihad In East Turkestan?
The Chinese occupation has huge military power, recently increasing its annual military spending that caused a similar increase in Indian and American budgets as countries that hold China’s growing military strength as a threat. Like the US is experiencing in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, and India in occupying Kashmir, in the same way, China is also being challenged by those they have palced under the jackboot, who are being slaughtered and oppressed.
Yes!, there is Jihad in East Turkestan: a living Jihad that shouts at the top of its voice, the words of Allah the Almighty who tells us how many times a small group of people have won over a great multitude of men by the Will of Allah. Despite the decline in the religious awakening due to the oppressive measures imposed by the Chinese occupation, not all the lions of Islam can be curbed.
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is the leading jihad organization in the country. Many of its members took training at camps in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries
Mostly independent accounts of the operations of ETIM are available but the struggle still goes on.
In 1997 the Mujahideen detonated bombs all across China, including on three buses in Urumqi, capital of East Turkestan, a few months before summer. In 1999, the ETIM Mujahideen were blowing up a Chinese government office every few days but then came September 11th.
While it didn’t make a lot of difference within China itself, except that those rising up were now called “terrorists” on the International level, China got an ally it had never counted on. In a race to gain support for its war on terrorism, the US declared all East Turkic resistance movements as terrorists with links to Al Qaeda.
China might have gained a strong ally, but it has, at the very same time, turned a lethal enemy on itself as well. Globalizing the “War on Terror” in East Turkestan is awaken many with many more voices. Gradually the whole of Central Asia is becoming a war ground and as the global jihad progresses, highly trained and skilled Mujahideen will certainly arrive in East Turkestan.
China may not yet be aware that its tanks and artilleries, its missiles and guns, along with its nuclear bombs not just pointed at the Uyghurs, but they are raised in the face of the Muslim Ummah, the descendents of Khalid bin Al Waleed, the sword of Allah, who described the Muslim army with such words of wellness.
“If you would fly to the sky or enter the depth s of the sea, Allah would yet make us reach your abodes and destroy you! Indeed I come to you with an army of men, who love death just like ‘you love life’ ” (JUS)
1. Uyghur Yawaaz- The voice of East Turkestan website Arabic section, by Tokhti Arkeen
2. The voice of a very very sad nation, by Ameen Zia Addeen
3. The sad voice of the Uyghur- The Arabic section of East Turkestan website
4. Chinese citizenization- A huge problem for East Turkestan, by Muhammadi Farhat- Political Analyst
5. Prague 12 April 2005 (RFE/RL)
6. Islamic unrest in the Xin Jiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, by Dr Paul George, Commentary No. 73, Canadian Security intelligence service
7. Uyghurs detention conditions condemned, by R Jeffery smith and Julie Tate
8. www.Uyghur.org/ Arabic/ahbar_ 04/ar_18_ 08.htm
9. Selling out Uyghurs, by Ted Rall published on Wednesday, Dec15,2004
10. Eastern Turkistan Information Center
11. Eastern Turkistan National Freedom Center
12. International Taklamakan Human Rights Association (ITHRA)
13. UIGHUR-L Page An informational mailing list about Eastern Turkestan and the Uighur people
14. Free Eastern Turkestan!
15. Amnesty International AI Index ASA 17/021/2004 (.pdf)
16. China: Rights Groups Accuse of Suppressing Uyghurs, Smothering Islam, by Grant Podelco
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