正本清源 捍衛法治
——謝鋒特派員在2019年國際法論壇上的主旨演講
2019/08/15

  

  

   

  正本清源 捍衛法治  

  ——謝鋒特派員在2019年國際法論壇上的主旨演講  

  

   

  尊敬的林鄭月娥行政長官,  

  肯尼迪·加斯頓秘書長、鄭若驊司長,  

  黃進會長、梁定邦主席,  

  各位來賓、各位朋友:  

     

  大家上午好!很高興再次應邀出席國際法論壇。  

 

  國際法論壇連續四年在港舉行,充分體現了林鄭月娥行政長官領導的特區政府對法治的重視,也體現了國際社會對香港法治的高度認可。按照世界正義工程發布的“2019年法治指數”,香港法治水平在126個國家和司法轄區中位列第16位。  

 

  令人痛心的是,一段時間來,一小部分激進分子不斷升級暴力犯罪,不斷突破法律、道德、人性底線。外國勢力里應外合包庇縱容,嚴重沖擊香港法治和社會秩序。在此時刻探討法治議題尤具現實意義。

 

  我從事外交工作33年,本科攻讀的專業是國際法,愿借此機會與大家就近期共同關心的三個問題分享一些看法。

    

  一、關于國際法上不干涉內政的原則

   

  主權平等和不干涉內政是最根本也是最重要的國際法原則。17世紀初,國際法鼻祖格勞秀斯提出主權平等,強調國家無論大小強弱都擁有同等權利和義務,為威斯特伐利亞以降的國際關系奠定了基石。作為主權平等的必然要求,不干涉別國內政原則應運而生。著名國際法學家瓦泰爾論述道:“國家自由與獨立的必然結果,就是她們有權以其認為適當的方式進行自我管理,任何國家都沒有絲毫權利去干涉別國內政。在國家的所有權利中,主權無疑是最嚴肅的,其他國家必須給予最誠敬的尊重。”

 

  主權平等和不干涉內政已成為現代國際法基本原則和國際關系基本準則。《聯合國憲章》第2條第1款規定“本組織(聯合國)系基于各會員國主權平等之原則”,該條第7款又規定“本憲章不得認為授權聯合國干涉在本質上屬于任何國家國內管轄之事件”。聯合國大會于1970年通過的《國際法原則宣言》進一步明確:“每一國均有選擇其政治、經濟、社會及文化制度之不可移讓之權利,不受他國任何形式之干涉”,“任何國家或國家集團均無權以任何理由直接或間接干涉任何其他國家之內政或外交事務”。聯大通過的其他國際宣言也指出:各國有義務避免利用和歪曲人權問題,以此作為對其他國家施壓,或在其他國家內部制造猜忌和混亂的手段;有義務避免從事任何旨在干涉他國內政的誹謗運動、污蔑或敵意宣傳;有義務避免以任何形式或任何借口采取任何動搖或破壞另一國家穩定或其任何制度的行動或企圖。1975年歐洲安全與合作會議《赫爾辛基最終法案》也規定:“成員國將避免干涉另一成員國國內管轄的內外事務,無論這種干涉是直接或間接、單獨或集體行為,也無論有關成員國之間關系如何”。 國際法院在尼加拉瓜訴美國的“軍事與準軍事活動”案判決中指出,不干涉內政原則“是習慣國際法的一部分”。  

 

  外交和領事人員是派出國在接受國的官方代表,國際法對其職能有明確規定,要求他們不得干涉接受國內政。《維也納外交關系公約》第41條和《維也納領事關系公約》第55條明確規定,外交和領事人員“負有尊重接受國法律規章之義務”,“并負有不干涉該國內政之義務”。國際法院在解釋為何必須確立不干涉別國內政原則時說,“這是因為就事物的本質而言,(干涉別國內政)總是最強權的國家所為,會輕而易舉地妨害國際正義”。一語道破干涉別國內政的霸權實質。  

 

  從過去到現在,包括中國在內的許多發展中國家都深受外國強權干預之害。近期,個別國家粗暴干涉香港事務和中國內政,甚至威脅取消香港的經貿待遇、對特區政府官員進行制裁。這些國家的副總統、外長、議長、議員、駐港領事等頻繁同“港獨”激進勢力會面,睜著眼睛說瞎話,將暴力行為說成是“美麗的風景”,顛倒黑白地詆毀誣陷香港警隊,無中生有地指責北京“侵蝕港人自治和自由”,恬不知恥地聲稱其外交官“同世界各國反對抗議人士會面,不只在中國香港”。這些人以赤裸裸的言行,公然蔑視不干涉內政原則、公然踐踏國際法和國際關系基本準則。  

 

  干預別國內政的行為嚴重違反國際法,損害世界各國的共同利益,是世界動亂的根源。我們呼吁國際上一切愛好和平、尊重法治的正義力量團結起來,捍衛包括不干涉內政在內的國際法基本原則和國際關系基本準則,共同維護以國際法為基礎的國際秩序。  

     

  

     

  二、關于《中英聯合聲明》問題

   

  近期個別國家頻頻拿《中英關于香港問題的聯合聲明》說事,妄稱有權據此“監督”香港事務。大家只要讀一讀《聯合聲明》,真相就會大白。  

 

  首先,《聯合聲明》是中英間關于中國收回香港及有關過渡期安排的重要文件,其中沒有任何條款賦予英方干預回歸后香港事務的權利,而且涉及英方的條款均已履行完畢。 

 

  《聯合聲明》共有8條正文和3個附件。第1條規定中國對香港恢復行使主權,第2條規定英國將香港交還給中國。香港回歸后,這兩條已同時履行完畢。第3條及附件一是關于中方對香港基本方針政策的原則闡述及具體說明,但沒有任何涉及英方權利和義務的表述。第46條和附件二、附件三規定兩國在回歸過渡期的有關安排,包括雙方在香港的行政管理、中英聯合聯絡小組的設立和運作、土地契約以及批約等事項。第78條是關于實施和生效的條款。這些規定隨著香港回歸和各項后續工作的完成也都已履行完畢。  

 

  第二,《聯合聲明》中的對香港基本方針政策及具體說明,系中方單方面政策宣示,純屬中國內政,不是雙方協議內容。《聯合聲明》第3條明確表示,“中華人民共和國決定在對香港恢復行使主權時,根據中華人民共和國憲法第三十一條的規定,設立香港特別行政區”。這表明,在港實施“一國兩制”的法律基礎是中國《憲法》,并非基于《聯合聲明》。  

 

  第三,《聯合聲明》更沒有任何條款規定英方在香港回歸后對香港承擔任何責任。英方因《聯合聲明》產生的與香港的法律聯系,最遲在中英聯絡小組200011日終止工作時已不復存在。英方無權再根據《聯合聲明》對香港提出新的權利或者責任主張。簡言之,對于回歸后的香港,英國一無主權、二無治權、三無“監督”權。  

 

  特別需要指出的是,《聯合聲明》只是中英間雙邊文件,內容不涉及其他國家。根據一般國際法,其他國家和組織更是無權假借《中英聯合聲明》干涉香港事務。  

    

  

     

  三、關于“一國兩制”問題

   

  “一國兩制”是中國政府單方面的政策宣示,是基于國際法上主權平等原則以及和平解決爭端原則的主動創造性實踐,是中國對國際法發展的重大貢獻。全面準確理解“一國兩制”,必須把握好兩點: 

 

  首先,要認清中國《憲法》是香港特區的“根”和“源”。實行“一國兩制”的香港特區是根據中國《憲法》設立的。早在1982年,中國《憲法》就列入“國家在必要時得設立特別行政區”的規定,遠遠早于1984年的《中英聯合聲明》。《基本法》是“一國兩制”的具體化和法制化。國家《憲法》和香港《基本法》共同構成香港特區的憲制基礎,具有堅實的政治基礎、充分的法理依據和成功的實踐經驗。只講某一方面或者把二者割裂開來、對立起來,都是不完整、不準確的,也不符合香港回歸以來的實際情況。  

 

  第二,要把握好“一國”和“兩制”的關系。“一國”是“兩制”的基礎與前提,“兩制”是在“一國”之內的“兩制”。香港《基本法》第1條就指出“香港特別行政區是中華人民共和國不可分離的部分”,第12條規定“香港特別行政區是中華人民共和國的一個享有高度自治權的地方行政區域,直轄于中央人民政府”。這說明,香港隸屬于國家,是中國的香港,不是獨立或半獨立的政治實體;中央對香港擁有全面管治權,香港依《基本法》享有高度自治。如果“一國”原則受到沖擊,“兩制”就無從談起。作為中國的一個地方行政區,香港肩負維護國家統一與領土完整、維護國家主權安全的憲制責任。任何危害國家主權安全、挑戰中央權力和基本法權威、利用香港對內地進行滲透破壞的活動,都是決不能允許的。  

 

  在“一國”基礎上,我們尊重“兩制”差異、善用“兩制”之利、依法在香港實行高度自治的立場也是明確的、一貫的,從來沒有也不會改變。  

 

  回顧150多年的英國殖民統治,沒有一任港督是由港人民主選舉產生,絕大部分時間立法機構成員更是直接由港督任命。與之形成鮮明對比,香港回歸以后,港人依法當家作主、自行管理特區自治范圍內事務。香港居民前所未有地享有廣泛的民主權利和自由,任何不抱偏見的人都會承認,這是無可否認的事實。遺憾的是,仍有一些人昧著良心地主張某些香港從未存在過的所謂“權利”,反過來栽贓中國中央政府“侵蝕”這些“權利”,這些謬論于法律無據、于事實不符,再次暴露了他們的偏見、傲慢和虛偽。  

 

     

  各位朋友,  

 

  法治是社會正義、安全與秩序的根基,國際法治是捍衛各國主權、維護世界和平、促進共同發展的重要制度保障。 

 

  當前香港事態的本質絕非所謂的人權、自由與民主問題,而是一些極端暴力分子裹挾不明真相者以反修例為幌子不斷升級暴力犯罪活動,嚴重踐踏法治和社會秩序、嚴重威脅香港市民安全、嚴重破壞香港繁榮穩定;是香港反對派和極端暴力分子企圖以暴力等非法手段顛覆特區合法政府、挑戰中央政府權威、動搖香港一國兩制的憲制根基;是外國干預勢力踐踏國際法和國際關系基本準則,粗暴干涉香港事務和中國內政、破壞香港繁榮穩定、損害中國主權與安全,企圖把香港作為一枚棋子,牽制遏制中華民族偉大復興。  

 

  當前香港面臨回歸22年來最危險、最嚴峻的局面,當務之急和壓倒一切的任務,就是止暴制亂、恢復秩序。中央政府堅定支持林鄭月娥行政長官領導的特區政府依法施政,堅定支持香港警隊和司法機構果斷執法、嚴正司法,堅決支持絕大多數香港同胞反暴力、護法治、撐警隊的正義之  

 

  香港是中國的香港,香港事務純屬中國內政。任何踐踏香港法治、破壞香港繁榮穩定、沖擊一國兩制的暴力行徑,必將遭到法律的嚴懲。任何外國政府、組織或個人干預香港事務的行徑,必將遭到包括香港同胞在內的全體中國人民的堅決回擊。任何阻撓中華民族復興的企圖注定將遭到可恥的失敗  

 

  我們相信,有一國兩制的獨特制度優勢,有偉大祖國和內地同胞作為堅強后盾,有香港各界的和衷共濟,有熱愛和平、反對暴力、堅守法治的國際社會正義之士的理解支持,香港一定能夠克服眼前的困難,拂去一時的陰霾,“東方明珠”必將閃耀更加璀璨的光芒!  

 

  最后,預祝本次論壇取得圓滿成功!謝謝大家!

   

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Get the Fundamentals Right
and Safeguard the Rule of Law

  Keynote Speech by H.E. Mr. Xie Feng
Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China
in the Hong Kong SAR
at 2019 Colloquium on International Law
15 August 2019, Hong Kong

  
  The Honorable Chief Executive Carrie Lam,
  Secretary General Prof. Dr. Kennedy Gastorn,
  Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng,
  President Huang Jin,
  Chairman Dr. Anthony Neoh,
  Distinguished Guests,
  Friends,

  Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to attend again the Colloquium on International Law.

  For the fourth consecutive year, the colloquium has been held in Hong Kong, which fully shows the importance the SAR Government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam has attached to the rule of law, and the universal recognition of Hong Kong’s performance in this regard. According to the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2019, Hong Kong ranks 16th among 126 countries and jurisdictions.

  To our great distress, however, some radical forces in Hong Kong have ramped up violent crime in recent months, which has gone beyond the limits of law, morality and humanity. To make things worse, some foreign forces have condoned and even colluded with them, seriously undermining law and order in the city. That makes our discussions here on the rule of law even more relevant.

  I’ve been in the diplomatic service for 33 years, but I was an international law major in my undergraduate years. So I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on three issues of common interest.

  First, on the non-intervention principle of international law.

  Sovereign equality and non-intervention are two fundamental principles of international law. In the early 17th century, Hugo Grotius, founding father of international law, proposed the principle of sovereign equality, which emphasizes that states, big or small, strong or weak, have equal rights and obligations, thus laying the foundation of post-Westphalian international relations. The non-intervention principle came into being as the necessary requirement of sovereign equality. As the renowned international lawyer Vattel argued, “It is an evident consequence of the liberty and independence of nations, that all have a right to be governed as they think proper, and that no state has the smallest right to interfere in the government of another. Of all the rights that can belong to a nation, sovereignty is, doubtless, the most serious, and that which other nations ought the most scrupulously to respect.”

  Sovereign equality and non-intervention have been established as basic principles of modern international law and norms governing international relations. For example, Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Charter of the United Nations states that “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” Paragraph 7 of the same article provides that “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” The Declaration on Principles of International Law adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1970 further clarifies that “Every State has an inalienable right to choose its political, economic, social and cultural systems, without interference in any form by another State”, and that “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.” Other declarations adopted by the UNGA also point out that States have the duties to “refrain from the exploitation and the distortion of human rights issues as a means of exerting pressure on other States or creating distrust and disorder within and among States or groups of States”, to “abstain from any defamatory campaign, vilification or hostile propaganda for the purpose of intervening or interfering in the internal affairs of other States”, and to “refrain from any action or attempt in whatever form or under whatever pretext to destabilize or to undermine the stability of another State or of any of its institutions”. The Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975 also stipulates that “The participating States will refrain from any intervention, direct or indirect, individual or collective, in the internal or external affairs falling within the domestic jurisdiction of another participating State, regardless of their mutual relations.” In the Military and Paramilitary Activities case (Nicaragua vs. U.S.), the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the principle of non-intervention “is part and parcel of customary international law”.

  International law clearly defines the functions of diplomatic agents and consular officers who officially represent the sending State in the receiving State, requiring them not to interfere in the internal affairs of the receiving State. Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Article 55 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations stipulate that it is the duty of diplomatic agents and consular officers “to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State”, and “not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State”. And as the ICJ explained, the principle of non-intervention was established “for, from the nature of things, it would be reserved for the most powerful States, and might easily lead to perverting the administration of international justice itself”. The observation lays bare hegemony at the core of intervention.

  Throughout history, many developing countries including China have suffered a lot from intervention by foreign powers. As the most recent example, some countries have grossly interfered in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s domestic affairs, and even threatened to cancel economic and trade privileges of Hong Kong and sanction SAR Government officials. Politicians of certain Western countries, including Vice President, Foreign Minister, House Speaker, Congressmen and consular officers in Hong Kong, have frequently met with radical activists calling for so-called “Hong Kong independence”. They have told blatant lies, applauded violence as “a beautiful sight to behold”, made unfounded allegations against the Hong Kong police, groundlessly accused Beijing of “encroaching on Hong Kong people’s autonomy and freedom”, and even boasted that their diplomats “meet with opposition protesters, not just in Hong Kong or China”. Such remarks and actions have flagrantly defied the principle of non-intervention, and trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations.

  Intervention is a serious violation of international law, which puts common interests of all countries at risk and breeds chaos around the globe. We call on the forces for justice in the world who cherish peace and the rule of law to unite behind the basic principles of international law and norms governing international relations, including non-intervention, and jointly uphold the international order based on international law.

  Second, on the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

  In recent months, certain countries have frequently cited the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong to justify their right to “supervise” Hong Kong affairs. But anyone who has studied the instrument knows well such claims do not hold water.

  Firstly, the Joint Declaration is an important instrument between China and the UK on China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and arrangements for the transitional period. There is no single clause in it that grants the UK any right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after its return, and all clauses concerning the UK have been fulfilled.

  The Joint Declaration consists of eight paragraphs and three annexes. Article 1 is about China’s decision to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. In Article 2, the UK states that it will restore Hong Kong to China. These two articles have been fulfilled upon the return of Hong Kong. In Article 3 and Annex 1, China elaborates its basic policies regarding Hong Kong, yet with not the least implication of UK’s rights and obligations. Articles 4, 5 and 6 and Annexes 2 and 3 provide for relevant arrangements during the transitional period, including the administration of Hong Kong, the establishment and operation of a Sino-British Joint Liaison Group, land leases and ratification. Articles 7 and 8 are about the implementation and entry into force of the instrument. All these provisions have been fulfilled with the return of Hong Kong and the completion of ensuing work. 

  Secondly, the basic policies regarding Hong Kong elaborated in the Joint Declaration were proposed by China on its own and hence are completely China’s domestic affairs, rather than an agreement between the two sides. As Article 3 of the instrument clearly states, “The People’s Republic of China has decided to establish, in accordance with the provisions of Article 31 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region upon resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong.” It shows that the legal basis of implementing “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong is China’s Constitution, instead of the Joint Declaration.

  Thirdly, the Joint Declaration includes no clause that provides for British obligations to Hong Kong after the city’s return. All legal relations between the UK and Hong Kong created by the instrument had terminated by 1 January 2000 at the latest, when the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group ceased operation. The UK is not entitled to claim any new rights over or obligations to Hong Kong by citing the Joint Declaration. To be brief, the UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of “supervision” over Hong Kong whatsoever after the latter returned to China.

  It needs to be emphasized that the Joint Declaration is a bilateral instrument between China and the UK and does not concern any other country. According to general international law, other countries and organizations have no right to meddle with Hong Kong affairs on the pretext of the Joint Declaration.

  Third, on “One Country, Two Systems”.

  The policy of “One Country, Two Systems” was put forward by the Chinese Government itself. It is a pioneering initiative based on the principles of sovereign equality and peaceful settlement of disputes in international law, and is a major contribution by China to developing international law. In order to fully and accurately grasp the policy, it is necessary to understand at least two points.

  Firstly, it is China’s Constitution that lays the very foundation of the HKSAR. The HKSAR where “One Country, Two Systems” is practiced was established according to China’s Constitution. As early as in 1982, two years before the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed, China’s Constitution provides that “The state may establish special administrative regions when necessary.” The Basic Law of the HKSAR codifies the “One Country, Two Systems” policy into law with concrete provisions. Therefore, the Constitution of the PRC and the Basic Law of Hong Kong together constitute the constitutional basis of the HKSAR, which is supported by solid political and legal grounds and successful practices. Focusing solely on either of the laws or separating and even confronting the two is incomplete and misleading, and inconsistent with the reality since Hong Kong’s return.

  Secondly, it is imperative to correctly understand the relationship between “One Country” and “Two Systems”. “One Country” is the foundation of and prerequisite for “Two Systems”, and “Two Systems” can only operate within the framework of “One Country”. Article 1 of the Basic Law makes it clear that “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China”, and Article 12 provides that “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a local administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, which shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy and come directly under the Central People’s Government.” It fully demonstrates that Hong Kong is part of China rather than an independent or semi-independent political entity, and that the Central Government has overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong, while Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the Basic Law. Should the “One Country” principle be undermined, “Two Systems” would not materialize. As a local administrative region of China, Hong Kong has the constitutional responsibility of upholding national unity and territorial integrity, and defending national sovereignty and security. Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the Central Government and the authority of the Basic Law, or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is absolutely impermissible.
 
  Our position is clear and consistent. We respect the differences between the “Two Systems” and well leverage their benefits on the basis of “One Country”, and ensure a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong in accordance with law. This has not and will not change.

  Looking back at the more than 150 years when Hong Kong was under British colonial rule, one will find that no single Governor was democratically elected by the local people, and legislature members were directly appointed by the Governor most of the time. The people of Hong Kong today, by contrast, are their own masters and govern affairs within the limits of the SAR’s autonomy in accordance with law. It is an undeniable fact that Hong Kong citizens are enjoying unprecedented democratic rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, some people continue to claim “rights” that never existed in Hong Kong, and even accuse China’s Central Government of “eroding” these “rights”. Such argument is legally groundless and inconsistent with the reality, and has again exposed their prejudice, arrogance and hypocrisy.

  Ladies and Gentlemen,
  Friends,

  The rule of law is the cornerstone for justice, security and order of any society, and international law provides vital institutional guarantee for national sovereignty, world peace and common development.

  The essential problem in Hong Kong now is not about human rights, freedoms or democracy as some claim. It is, instead, about the attempt by certain violent extremists to coerce those who do not know the truth and ramp up violent crime on the pretext of opposing the amendments of the two ordinances related to fugitive transfer, seriously trampling upon law and order, threatening the security of the citizens, and damaging Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. It is about the intention of the opposition and violent extremists to overthrow the legitimate SAR Government, challenge the Central Government’s authority, and undermine the constitutional basis of “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong through illegal means such as violence. It is about gross foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs and China’s domestic affairs as a whole, violating international law and basic norms governing international relations with the aim of damaging Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and China’s national sovereignty and security, and turning Hong Kong into a pawn to hold back China’s national rejuvenation.

  As Hong Kong is facing the most dangerous and gravest situation since its return 22 years ago, the top priority is to stop violence, end the chaos and restore order. The Central Government firmly supports the SAR Government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam in governing according to law, firmly supports the Hong Kong police and judiciary in decisively enforcing the law and fairly administering justice, and firmly supports the majority of Hong Kong compatriots in their just cause of opposing violence, upholding the rule of law, and supporting the police.

  Hong Kong is part of China, and its affairs are completely China’s domestic affairs. Any violent act to undermine the rule of law, damage the city’s prosperity and stability, and challenge “One Country, Two Systems” will meet with severe legal punishment. Any interference in Hong Kong affairs by foreign governments, organizations or individuals will be resolutely fought back by all Chinese people, including our Hong Kong compatriots. And any plot to hinder China’s national rejuvenation is doomed to fail.

  We are fully convinced that with the unique strength of the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, with the strong backing of the motherland and the people of the mainland, with the joint efforts of our Hong Kong compatriots, and with the understanding and support of the international forces for justice, including all our friends here, who love peace, oppose violence and cherish the rule of law, Hong Kong will surely overcome the temporary difficulties, and the “Pearl of the Orient” will shine even brighter.

  In closing, I wish this colloquium a great success. Thank you.

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