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Guanyindong is the other name of YuanshidongCave. It is a Miao Nationality town, lying on the way to Wenshan, and is 39 kilometers from Mengzi. The name of the cave came from a legend that a couple of lovers were in danger in the cave and at the peak time, a lion appeared and saved them. Chen yuying, the governor of Yunnan and Guizhou in Qing dynasty once said the cave was the “first cave of south Yunnan”, not for its scenery exceeded the Swallow Cave and Alu Cave, but that its building and religious status.

YuanshidongCave was built in the early years of the emperor Qianlong, Qing dynasty. From the lowest to the highest of the architecture, Buddha, god, fairy, people, hero, ancestor etc. approached to one hundred statuaries of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism were enshrined separately in dozens of its palaces, houses, halls, temples, cabinets of different size, so it’s convenient for people to worship,and the convenient of worship to different God is the preponderance for the Cave.

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TheSouthCaveis a natural landscape area that is magnificent, splendid, strange and beautiful. It is embraced on three sides by green hills and one side by the dam. The hills here are all high and steep. The height of the highest peak is 1,300 meters above sea level. The altitude difference is 230 meters between the top of the peak and the dam, and is 94.5 meters between the top of the peak and water level of the lake. A meter-gage railway (Yunnan-Vietnam Railway) that leads to the southern gate goes through the area directly. Three underground rivers with a steady daily flow come out from the mountains and join together to form theSouthCaveRiver. The reaches of the three underground rivers cover an area of over 3,000 square kilometers. The area has strange and beautiful karst caves that are typical examples of karst landforms.

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The closing ceremony of the international Taoism forum and a prayer meeting for world harmony concluded at Hengshan Mountain of Hunan province on Oct. 25. The forum has made the “Nanyue Declaration,” which states that “being simple and sincere can help people to secure a peaceful mind, and following the laws of nature will ensure sustainable development,” “respecting public lives will generate common prosperity” and “striving to promote harmony between heaven and mankind as well as world peace.”

More than 500 attendees from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and 19 countries communicated during the world’s largest Taoist forum and witnessed the profound Taoist culture.

Spreading Taoism across the world

Chang Cheng, president of the Taoism Society of Taiwan, said that the book Tao Te Ching has become the second best-selling book in the West, only after the Bible. It has been translated into about 500 languages in the world.

A Japanese Taoist said during the forum that Japanese Taoist temples are working on the collection, analysis and research on the Taoist materials that were written in Chinese and preserved by Japan’s first generation of Taoists during the country’s Edo Period. Japanese people have not only built Taoist venues across the country, but they have also published clear and simple modern versions of the Tao Te Ching and popularized the book through the Internet.

Lin Zhou, deputy president of Chinese Taoist Association, said that Taoism has taken root in many countries and regions, and Taoist believers and followers can be seen in many places around the world. Overseas Chinese make up the majority of Taoist believers outside ofChina. Wherever there are a large number of Chinese people, there will be Taoist believers. Many Taoist temples have been built inSingapore,Malaysia,Indonesia, theUnited States,France and other countries. Moreover, many Westerners have become Taoist believers, and a lot of foreign universities and academies have been doing extensive research into Taoism.

Why Taoism is so attractive to foreigners

A foreign believer with the Taoist name “Jingxiang” said that Taoism clarified his confusions and became his spiritual home.

“When proselytizing abroad, I have found that Westerners can easily accept Taoist concepts, such as the harmony among all things and the integration of Yin and Yang. Many of them are also interested in the Taoist theories of preserving one’s health, so Taoism is becoming increasingly attractive and popular,” Taoist priest Huang Shizhen said.

Experts said that Taoism, which originated and developed in China, has a long history and rich doctrines. Currently, the whole world faces a series of issues, such as energy crises and the deterioration of global ecological environment, which have drawn many people’s attention to the Taoist principles of following the law of nature and being kind to all living things.

Further promoting Taoism in the world

Respecting Taoism, cherishing virtues and co-existing harmoniously are the themes of the Taoist forum. After discussing Taoism for three days, the Taoists from China and foreign countries all had a deeper understanding about subjects such as “following nature,” “valuing and enjoying the life,” “being kind to all lives” and “returning to the original simplicity.” Meanwhile, they also widely discussed the issue of further promoting Taoist culture in the world.

The director of the China Taoism Association Ren Farong said that China has proposed the strategy of sustainable development and the great goal of jointly building up a harmonious society and is calling for international communities to harmoniously co-exist with their neighbors and achieve win-win situations. It is a good medicine for treating the various contradictions of the current world, which has attracted a lot of attention and achieved quite good results.

Martin Palmer said that, with the powerful modern media, they could use books, the Internet and audio-visual products to introduce the Taoism to Westerners so that more Westerners will know about and like it even if they have never been to China.

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The Longjiang shadow play was quite popular in the 1960. It faded away during the past years. Fewer people know of it, and still fewer are avid fans.

In May 2011, the Longjiang Shadow Play was written into the national list of intangible cultural heritages. And this ancient play, which originated during the Han Dynasty and became popular in the late Qing Dynasty, has an opportunity to be revived.

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With the approaching of the Spring Festival in the year of the dragon, various countries including the United States, France, Japan, South Korea, Vietnamand the Philippineshave successively issued stamps of the dragon.

As a component of Chinese traditional culture, the twelve Chinese horoscope animals reflect the culture of animal totems in ancient times. In1950, Japan first issued Chinese zodiac stamp in the year of the tiger. After that, East Asian countries with relatively deep influences of Chinese traditional culture become major foreign countries that issue stamps of Chinese zodiac.

In 1993, Chinese zodiac stamps were issued to commemorate overseas Chinese’s contribution to the local society. Afterward, countries around the world began to vie to issue such stamps, which reflects the distribution capacity of Chinese culture and the influence of China’s rapid development.

This year the “dragon stamps” inAustralia,United States, andFrance were designed by Chinese artists and the designs of overseas Chinese could reflect the spirits of Chinese traditional culture and combine Chinese culture with the culture of the issuing country at the same time.

For example, the American “dragon stamp” is in vividly high spirits, which not only employs elements of Chinese culture, but also underlines the confidence and contemporary feelings of American culture.

The Asian countries that have been under the influence of Chinese culture mainly adopt designs of domestic designers, for example, the Japanese “dragon stamp” this year is mainly designed with elements of local toys, which carries a dense feature of Japan.

As one of the name cards for cultural exchange, stamp is a window and epitome of the culture in a country or region. The unique stamps with Chinese zodiac are the “micro-edition” of a country’s understanding of Chinese culture.

Nowadays, China has increasingly deep cultural exchanges and integration with the issuing country, the application of both countries’ symbols of element is more precise and appropriate, and the understanding and explanation of Chinese elements are gradually closer to the original meaning in Chinese culture.
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Cai Gaoqiao, or walking on stilts, is another popular traditional performance of the Spring Festival, especially in Northern China. Cai means walking on, and Gaoqiao means stilts. According to the archives, our Chinese ancestors
began using stilts to help them gather fruits from trees. This practical use of stilts gradually developed into a kind of folk dance.

Gaoqiao performance requires high skills and varies in forms. Usually the performers tie two long stilts to their feet, making them higher than others when standing on stilts. On their “moving stage”, they are deeply loved by masses.

Most stilts used today are made from wood. There are “double stilts” and “single stilt” performances. The double stilts are usually tied to one’s shank to fully demonstrate his skill; and the single stilt is held by the performer so that he can go up and down freely. The performance can be also divided into “Wenqiao” (the civil one) and “Wuqiao” (the martial one). The former stresses appearance and amusement, while the latter emphasizes individual unique skill. Gaoqiao has now assumed strong local flavor and national color.

In Shandong Province, Gaoqiao is done at three levels, and people at the upper level stand on the shoulder of the lower ones.

In Beijing and Tianjin, performers show their high skills by jumping on one foot or going through obstacles. Some performers can even jump down from four highly-piled tables on one foot.

In Northeast China, Gaoqiao in southern Liaoning Province is the most famous. It has complete procedures and a standard form. At first, performers must “Daxiang”, that is, one stands on the shoulder of another and do a yangko dance. Then they run to change queue formations. At last, they perform in groups including pair dancing, “catching butterflies”, “fishing” and small local operas, etc.

Ethnic groups, when performing Gaoqiao, usually wear clothes of their own nationality. The Bouyei ethnic group has both double stilts and single one; the latter one, due to its simplicity, is especially loved by children. In “Gaoqiao Shuama” of the Bai ethnic group, performers are dressed like a horse. The “Two-Person Gaoqiao” of the Uygur ethnic group blends their local dance in it, which is new and fresh.

Scholars believe the Gaoqiao originates from the totem worship of primitive clans and the fishermen’s lives along the coast. Historians have proved that the Danzhu clan in the times of Yao and Shun emperors, who took the crane as their totem, walked on stilts in their sacrificing and imitated dances of the crane. Archaeologists say some oracle-bone scriptures had images of dancing on stilts.

In the ancient geography book Shanhaijing (The Book of Mountains and Seas), there is an account ofLong-LegKingdom. According to ancestors, theLong-LegKingdom was related to “walking on stilts”. From the text, readers can imagine a man walking on stilts, holding a long fishing tool to catch fish in the shallow water Jingzu fishermen along the coast ofFangcheng, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, still keep the custom of fishing this way.

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Yangge is a representative collective folk dance that combines music, dance and feats, by manipulations of the silk handkerchiefs and movements of the feet. It’s the most popular festive performance esp. in the countryside of northern China. It’s originated from rice planting and farming and has some connection with ancient eulogy songs sung in sacrifices to the God of the Farm.

Nearly every village in northernShaanxiProvincehas a yangge group, which begins to rehearse the yangge almost a month before the lunar New Year’s Day. On that day, after eating jiaozi, the yangge group begins paying New Year calls to house to house. They wish the hosts a happy New Year and do the yangge dance in the courtyards. Accompanied by drums, they wave red silk waist bands. The hosts set off firecrackers to welcome the dancers’ arrival and invite them to taste their home-made rice wine. The sounds of songs, drums and firecrackers blend, creating a festive atmosphere in the village.

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There were many kinds of fans in ancient China, though only the Zheshan (folding fan) and Tuanshan (round fan) have grown to receive true appreciation from art collectors

The folding fan is also known as the “head-gathering” style of fan because its ends meet together when folded. Such fans were first manufactured in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and became popular in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The birth of the round fan was much earlier than those of the folding variety. Its shape, like a full moon, signifies the auspicious meaning of a union and happiness. The round fan has many elegant names, like ” Wan Shan”, ” Luo Shan”, “Bing Mian” ” Bian Mian” and “Zhang Mian.”

Such fans were very popular in theHan Dynasty(202 BC-AD 204). The best ones had a surface covered by white silk from East China’sShandong Provincewhile the handles were crafted out of bamboo from Central China’sHunan Province.Fans sometimes were decorated on both sides with paintings, poems orcalligraphy. Those that held a famous artist’s paintings or calligraphy were highly prized possessions.he famous calligrapher Wang Xizhi of theJin Dynasty (265-420)once met an old woman selling folding fans in the street. He wrote five characters on each fan. This made the woman angry because she thought all her fans had been ruined. But when people discovered the artist’s words on the otherwise ordinary fans, they sold like hot cakes – and at high prices.Fans are not only tools for cooling oneself, but also artworks symbols for status and taste. Scholars would wave their fans to show off their grace as they composed poetry or sat deep in thought. When not in use, fans were sometimes concealed inside sleeves or hung from the waist.For aristocratic young women, fans made from silk or other precious cloth — especially flat round ones — were a kind of prop to show off grace and beauty. Whenever they met a strange man, they would use their fans to hide their faces. So women’s fans also have another name: “Zhang mian,” which means, “Hiding face.”

Fans gradually came to have attachments, such as fan bags, fan pendants and fan boxes. Fans also spread to other countries in the world, especially to Europe, becoming “emissaries” for Chinese culture.

  • Covering of a Fan

1.Water Lily

Reputed as a gentle flower, the water lily (or lotus flowers) has prevailed everywhere in Chinese people’s lives since ancient times.Many scholars in different dynasties hold it in high esteem for its beauty. The famous philosopher and poet Zhou Dunyi of Song Dynasty once wrote a short essay “On the Love of Lotus” (Ai Lian Shuo) in which Zhou compared the character of chrysanthemums and peonies with the lotus and highly praise the plant’s truth and sanctity.

2.Chrysanthemum

The chrysanthemum also has the name of yellow flower, chongyang flower and so on. Reputed as a kind of flower with fortitude and adamancy, the chrysanthemum has always been loved and many artists have taken it as their subject in their works.

3.Plum Blossoms

Many scholars have been endowed with creativity from plum blossoms. As the saying goes, “plum blossoms of one tree can create a thousand of poems.” Its coldly elegant character has been praised by many generations.

4.Bamboo

Many people love bamboo with its long, slim, and clean elegance, while poets and painters have admired the plant for its noble, fresh and elegant character

  • People on the fan

1.Beautiful Woman Fan

A painting of the figures of women was started during the Warring States period. At first the woman on the painting were only the main women of the palace. In the Song dynasty, this kind of painting was expanded to paint all beauties in the area.

2.Arhant

An arahant (Sanskrit, also arahant or arahant (Pali) is a highly realized Buddhist practitioner, one who has completely destroyed greed, hatred and delusion in his life .
The term arhat is, strictly speaking, a synonym for Buddha and is listed in some texts as one of the ten epithets of a Buddha.
China has many legends about the arhants.

3.Children Paintings

To describe children’s naivety, chasteness, liveliness and rhathymia.

  • Landscape Painting

Landscape painting is a unique cultural conception of china. Different from foreign landscape paintings, it is not a representation of natural scene, but endow cultural meaning in nature.A union between the body and nature.The harmony between human beings and nature is the basic element in landscape painting. Humans are endowed with life’s movement as well as spirit just as is nature.

  • Calligraphy

Calligraphy is an art dating back to the earliest days of history, and widely practiced throughout China to this day. Although it uses Chinese words as its vehicle of expression, one does not have to know Chinese to appreciate its beauty. Calligraphy, in essence, is an abstract art.

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The National Museum of China, a four-storeyed main building with two symmetrical wings, runs more than 300 meters north and south along the eastern side of Tian’anmen Square. The predecessors of the National Museum are two museums: the Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of Chinese Revolution, which shared the same building complex. The building was one of ten famous architectures built in 1959 to mark the 10thanniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. The Museum of Chinese History was in the South Wing while the North Wing housed the Museum of the Chinese Revolution. They were both opened to the public in 1961.

The building has a rectangular exterior and faces the Great Hall of the People. Twenty-four square pillars make up the magnificent west gate portico. With its classical color and imposing structure, the whole building is an important part of the panorama of Tian’anmen Square.

 Part1 About the Museum of Chinese History

The predecessor of the Museum of Chinese History is the Beijing History Museum built in 1912 and was opened to the public in October 1926. In August 1958, the Chinese government decided to establish a new national museum on the eastern side of Tian’anmen Square. The construction was completed in October 1959.

The Museum of Chinese History displays three main periods of Chinese history. The first, the Primitive Society, spans from 500,000BC to 4,000BC. The exhibits in the Slavery Society section cover the time from 2,100BC to 475BC and the Feudal Society exhibits focus on the period from 221BC to 1911.

Many of the items on display are national treasures and precious rarities. Examples include the famous fossil remains of Yuanmo Man and Beijing Man, the remarkable painted pottery and jade wares of the Neolithic Age, the Simuwu RectangleDing(a kind of vessel) of the Shang Dynasty (cast over 3, 000 years ago and weighing 832. 84kg — the heaviest ancient bronze ware in the world), the Shang Dynasty square bronzeZun(wine vessel) decorated with four sheep heads and the large inscribed Western Zhou Dynasty (11thcentury BC – 771BC) bronzePan(water container). Other exhibits include a gold-inlaid bronze tally in the shape of a tiger (this was used by Emperor Qinshihuang for military affairs), a Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) jade burial suit sewn with gold thread, magnificent Tri-colored Glazed Pottery of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), world-renowned Song Dynasty (960-1279) ceramics, and a rare bronze human figure marked with acupuncture points. Such treasures as these depict the rich and disparate evolution of the Chinese civilization.

Since 1992, about 100 short-term exhibitions have been held in the National Museum of Chinese History. Exhibitors have included both international and domestic organizations, as well as private individuals.

Part2 About the Museum of the Chinese Revolution

The Museum of the Chinese Revolution emphasizes the history of the past 150 years, in particular the history of the Communist Party of China. It is divided into three sections.

The exhibits in the Old Democratic Revolution section cover the period from 1840 to 1911. Events between 1911 and 1949 fall into the New Democratic Revolution section. The third section is entitled “The Triumph of the Revolution and the Establishment of Socialism” and covers events after 1949.

Much of China’s modern history is exhibited, including the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (1919-1921), the first two civil wars (1924-1927 and 1927-1937), the resistance war against Japanese aggression (1937-1945) and the liberation war (1945-1949). The museum is frequently updated to reflect the developments of modern political history.

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Part1 Food Symbolism

InChina, foods are given particular meanings, so that a type of food can only be eaten by some specific individuals in certain occasion, or must be eaten in specific occasion.

Usually, an honored guest will be served a snapper’s head or shell to hail him and show warm welcome in some districts.

Noodles are the symbol of longevity in Chinese culture. They are as much a part of Chinese birthday celebration as a birthday cake with lit candles is in many countries, so that youngsters or seniors all will have a bowl of Long Life Noodle in the expectation of a healthy life. Since noodles do symbolize long life, it is considered very unlucky to cut up a strand.

Eggs hold a special symbolic significance in many cultures, andChinais no exception. The Chinese believe eggs symbolize fertility. After a baby is born, parents may hold a “red egg and ginger party”, where they serve round hard-boiled eggs to announce the birth. (InCentral China, the number of eggs presented depends on the sex of the child: An even number, usually six or eight Red Boiled Eggs with a black point dotted on one end will be delivered for a boy and an odd number, usually five or seven without black point for a girl). Egg rolls or spring rolls resemble the shape of a gold bar, and thus are often served on the New Year as a symbol of wealth and prosperity in the coming year.

Fish also play a large role in festive celebrations. The Chinese word for fish “Yu” sounds like the homophonic words both for wish and abundance. As a result, on New Year’s Eve it is customary to serve a fish for dinner, symbolizing the wish for accumulations of prosperity and wealth in the coming year. In addition, the fish is served whole, with head and tail attached, symbolizing a good beginning and ending for the coming year.

Ducks represent fidelity in Chinese culture. If you are ever invited to a Chinese wedding banquet, don’t be surprised to spot a mouthwatering platter of Peking duck on the banquet table. Also, red dishes are featured at weddings as red is the color of happiness. (You may find them served at New Year’s banquets for the same reason.)

Chicken forms part of the symbolism of the dragon and phoenix in Chinese culture. At a Chinese wedding, chicken’s feet, referred to as phoenix feet, are often served with dragon foods such as lobster. Chicken is also popular at Chinese New Year, symbolizing a good marriage and the coming together of families, and serving the bird whole emphasizes family unity.

Seeds — lotus seeds, watermelon seeds, etc — represent bearing many children in Chinese culture. Visit an Asian bakery during the Chinese New Year, and you’re likely to find a wide assortment of snacks with different types of seeds in them.

There are other foods, snacks and fruits which symbolize good wishes under special circumstances, including dried bean curd, black moss seaweed, peanuts, pomelos and oranges.

Part2 Table Manners

Talking about eating habit, unlike the West, where everyone has their own plate of food, inChinathe dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares. If you are being treated by a Chinese host, be prepared for a ton of food. Chinese are very proud of their culture of cuisine and will do their best to show their hospitality.

And sometimes the host will serve some dishes with his or her own chopsticks to guests to show his or her hospitality. This is a sign of politeness. The appropriate thing to do would be to eat the whatever-it-is and say how yummy it is. If you feel uncomfortable with this, you can just say a polite “thank you” and leave the food there. There are some other rules that are suggested you follow to make your stay inChinahappier, though you will be forgiven if you have no idea of what they are.

1. Never stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl, lay them on your dish instead. Otherwise, it is deemed extremely impolite to the host and seniors present. The reason for this is that when somebody dies, the shrine to them contains a bowl of sand or rice with two sticks of incense stuck upright in it. So if you stick your chopsticks in the rice bowl, it looks like the shrine and is equivalent to wishing death upon a person at the table.

2. Make sure the spout of the teapot is not facing anyone. It is impolite to set the teapot down where the spout is facing towards somebody. The spout should always be directed to where nobody is sitting, usually just outward from the table.

3. Don’t tap on your bowl with your chopsticks, since that will be deemed insult to the host or the chef. Beggars tap on their bowls, and also, when the food is coming too slow in a restaurant, people will tap their bowls. If you are in someone’s home, it is like insulting the host or the cook.

4. Never try to turn a fish over and debone it yourself, since the separation of the fish skeleton from the lower half of the flesh will usually be performed by the host or a waiter. Superstitious people deem bad luck will ensue and a fishing boat will capsize if you do so. This is especially true to southerners inChina(to be specific, such asGuangdong, Guangxi andFujianprovinces, etc.), since, traditionally, southerners are the fishing population.

Part3 Chopsticks

It’s commonly known that the Chinese invented chopsticks (orkuaiziin Chinese) as a set of instruments to be used when eating but the reason behind that is not commonly known. Actually, the Chinese were taught to use chopsticks long before spoons and forks were invented in Europe (the knife is older, not as an instrument for dining but as weapon). Chopsticks were strongly advocated by the great Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479BC). Chinese people, under the cultivation of Confucianism, consider the knife and fork bearing sort of violence, like cold weapons. However, chopsticks reflect gentleness and benevolence, the main moral teaching of Confucianism. Therefore, instruments used for killing must be banned from the dining table, and that is why Chinese food is always chopped into bite size before it reaches the table.

Eating Chinese food would not be as enjoyable if the wrong utensils were used. Using two slim and slippery sticks to pick up grains of rice and little pieces of meat and vegetables is actually not a difficult task to accomplish. In fact, there are foreigners who are as competent in using the chopsticks as the Chinese.

 The truth of using chopsticks is holding one chopstick in place while pivoting the other one to pick up a morsel. How to position the chopsticks is the course you have to learn. First, place the first chopstick so that thicker part rests at the base of your thumb and the thinner part rests on the lower side of your middle fingertip. Then, bring your thumb forward so that the stick will be firmly trapped in place. At least two or three inches of chopstick of the thinner end should extend beyond your fingertip. Next, position the other chopstick so that it is held against the side of your index finger and by the end of your thumb. Check whether the ends of the chopsticks are even. If not, then tap the thinner parts on the plate to make them even.

When dining with Chinese friends or business partners, it is always better for foreigners to try learning how to maneuver the chopsticks. You should only ask for a fork and spoon if all else fails. Using chopsticks to eat rice is a problem to most foreigners. Generally the tip to eat rice is to bring one’s rice bowl close to one’s mouth and quickly scoop the rice into it with one’s chopsticks. Since this is difficult for foreigners, and so simply lifting portions of rice to the mouth from the bowl held in the other hand is perfectly acceptable.

There are superstitions associated with chopsticks too. If you find an uneven pair at your table setting, it means you are going to miss a boat, plane or train. Dropping chopsticks will inevitably bring bad luck. Crossed chopsticks are, however, permissible in a dim sum restaurant. The waiter will cross them to show that your bill has been settled, or you can do the same to show the waiter that you have finished and are ready to pay the bill.

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