More Fun in a Greener Bei­jing

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Li Shasha Edited by Mark Zuiderveld Pho­tos by Ma Ke Photo cour­tesy of the Gen­eral Of­fice of Capital Foresta­tion Com­mis­sion

The “2017 Green­ing To­gether” event for Bei­jing fam­i­lies en­abled Bei­jingers to learn more about pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment while hav­ing fun.

Ad­vanc­ing ecol­ogy con­struc­tion is a nat­u­ral choice for up­hold­ing the peo­ple- cen­tred de­vel­op­ment and en­hanc­ing the well­be­ing of res­i­dents in the capital, and the req­ui­sites for im­ple­ment­ing the capital’s strate­gic po­si­tion­ing and build­ing a world- lead­ing har­mo­nious and live­able city. It is also the only way to trans­form eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment modes, al­le­vi­ate re­sources and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­straints, and achieve sus­tain­able so­cio- eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“We want both a green en­vi­ron­ment and eco­nomic ben­e­fits; oth­er­wise, we pre­fer the for­mer to the lat­ter for the green moun­tain and wa­ter is the eco­nomic progress.” To re­spond to the call by Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Xi Jin­ping and ad­vance eco­log­i­cal con­struc­tion of the capital, the “2017 Green­ing To­gether” event for fam­i­lies in Bei­jing, is ini­ti­ated. Con­nect­ing the gov­ern­ment, in­sti­tu­tions

of higher learn­ing, “green bases” and fam­i­lies to­gether, the event takes up the task of pub­li­cis­ing ed­u­ca­tion of ecol­ogy.

‘Green Bases’ in the Capital

In Bei­hai Park, lo­tuses are in full blos­som ev­ery mid­sum­mer. First built in 1166, Bei­hai Park used to be an im­pe­rial gar­den dur­ing the Jin (1115–1234), Yuan (1271–1368), Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dy­nas­ties. Grow­ing lo­tuses for im­pe­rial fam­i­lies to en­joy had been de­vel­oped there since an­cient times. Nowa­days, each July and Au­gust is dur­ing the summer va­ca­tion for chil­dren, and they fre­quently visit Bei­hai Park to view lo­tuses with their fam­ily.

This summer in 2017 wel­comes the 21st Lo­tus Show in Bei­hai Park, where var­i­ous kinds of wa­ter lilies ap­pear. Dif­fer­ent than be­fore, this event ush­ered in 25 chil­dren from all over Bei­jing to ex­pe­ri­ence a new “green” sea­son.

About at 9 a.m. on a Satur­day, from Bei­hai’s south gate, a group of tourists were en­chanted by a grand and grace­ful lo­tus pond against the White Pagoda atop Qionghua Is­land and Yong’an Bridge. It is Nanx­i­ao­hai Lo­tus Pond with an area of more than 8,000 square me­tres, the largest and most rep­re­sen­ta­tive of its kind in Bei­hai Park. More than 10,000 lo­tus roots are planted in the pond. Some fam­i­lies were play­ing in front of the “2017 Green­ing To­gether” sign­board.

The “2017 Green To­gether” event is or­gan­ised by the Gen­eral Of­fice of Capital Foresta­tion Com­mis­sion (the Gen­eral Of­fice) to per­form re­quire­ments of eco­log­i­cal pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and the Peo­ple’s Gov­ern­ment of Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Bei­jing’s scenic spots such as the Tem­ple of Heaven, Bei­hai Park, Summer Palace, Bei­jing Zoo and Bei­jing Botan­i­cal Gar­den now adopt an­other name— ed­u­ca­tion bases for ecol­ogy in the capital. In early 2013, the Gen­eral Of­fice sought to or­gan­ise ex­perts from re­lated in­dus­tries for in­ves­ti­ga­tion. From 2014 to 2016, it screened and con­firmed 30 units including parks and Bei­jing Forestry Univer­sity as the ed­u­ca­tion bases for pub­li­cis­ing ecol­ogy in the capital.

The Gen­eral Of­fice has planned 100 cour­ses to be given re­spec­tively at the 30 units. How are these cour­ses planned and se­lected? What are the course sched­ules? Meng Fanbo, prin­ci­pal staff mem­ber of Li­ai­son Di­vi­sion of the Gen­eral Of­fice, an­swered these ques­tions.

Meng said, “First of all, these ed­u­ca­tion bases boast their own strength in ecol­ogy and can play a demon­stra­tive and lead­ing role in pub­li­cis­ing ecol­ogy. Sec­ond, these bases have car­ried out dis­tinc­tive ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties con­cern­ing ecol­ogy be­fore and had a last­ing so­cial in­flu­ence. Fi­nally, they have ad­van­ta­geous re­sources and the ca­pa­bil­ity of pop­u­lar­i­sa­tion, pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion of sci­ences, em­pha­sised most by the Gen­eral Of­fice.”

The 100- course timetable of the “2017 Green­ing To­gether” de­tails plans, times, venues, themes, con­tent, re­quire­ments for par­tic­i­pant fam­i­lies, as well as re­minders from June to Oc­to­ber 2017. For ex­am­ple, wet­land bird knowl­edge around Yeya ( Wild Duck) Lake, a tour to Bei­jing Wildlife Res­cue and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter and moun­tain climb­ing in Xiao­long­men Na­tional For­est Park all pro­vide a rare op­por­tu­nity to get close with na­ture and ob­serve wildlife.

Each week­end, on av­er­age, two or three themed ac­tiv­i­ties are held in Bei­jing. These cour­ses are se­lected fol­low­ing this pro­ce­dure: each ed­u­ca­tion base sub­mits three– five ac­tiv­i­ties ac­cord­ing to its special ad­van­tages; the Gen­eral Of­fice then dis­cusses and se­lects from them. Par­ents and chil­dren can choose ac­tiv­i­ties ac­cord­ing to their de­mands and ap­ply for them, and gain ex­pe­ri­ence amid na­ture in summer.

To put the spir­its of Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Xi’s key speech into ac­tion, and im­ple­ment re­quire­ments of the Bei­jing CPC Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee and the Peo­ple’s Gov­ern­ment of Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the Capital Foresta­tion Com­mis­sion is­sued a no­tice to pro­mote the pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion of ecol­ogy. With sup­port of the fi­nan­cial de­part­ment, the com­mon­weal of the

“2017 Green­ing To­gether” event has drawn an in­flux of more par­tic­i­pants.

Bei­hai’s ‘Beau­ti­ful Life with Lo­tus Flow­ers’

Ev­ery­thing went orderly in the ac­tiv­ity, from sign­ing in to fill­ing up the form and que­quing up. At 9:30 a.m., all par­tic­i­pat­ing fam­i­lies ar­rived and the green ex­pe­ri­ence event themed on “Beau­ti­ful Life with Lo­tus Flow­ers” be­gan. The chil­dren sur­rounded Zhao Jie, and learned about lo­tuses in Bei­hai Park.

Green lo­tus leaves stretch to the sky, and flaming lo­tus flow­ers ap­pear un­der the sun. Nowa­days, with the “park with a fea­ture” guide­line, lo­tuses have be­come a cul­tural sym­bol of Bei­hai Park, where more than 1,200 pots of lo­tus and aquatic plants are cul­ti­vated each year.

Zhao Jie said, “All lo­tuses here wear ‘el­e­va­tor soles’.” The truth is that grace­ful lo­tuses have rigid re­quire­ments for wa­ter level, specif­i­cally 80 cen­time­tres. The root stock un­der the 80- cen­time­tre­high wa­ter level is used to ab­sorb nu­tri­ents while that above the level con­tain lo­tus flow­ers and leaves for ap­pre­ci­a­tion. The av­er­age wa­ter level of Taiye Pool in Bei­hai Park is one me­tre; staff mem­bers there have to dredge the pool and el­e­vate lo­tus pots. He added, say­ing, “Bei­hai Park also in­tro­duces lo­tuses from Thai­land this year, aside from lo­cal strains.”

Fol­low­ing their se­nior guide, chil­dren headed for the park’s east gate. When pass­ing by the old “bingxi (ice-skat­ing)” site dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty, chil­dren could gather a sense of “na­tional cus­toms” through Zhao’s ex­pla­na­tion, cov­ered in sweat. The team was at­ten­tive, pa­tient, and pro­fes­sional to the lit­tle guests, an­swer­ing ques­tions from both par­ents and chil­dren.

“Grandma had no sem­blance of this knowl­edge be­fore, al­though I’ve lived in Bei­jing for over 60 years,” an el­derly woman said to her grand­daugh­ter who grew up in Sin­ga­pore and came back to Bei­jing this summer to take part in the event.

Liu Jun, deputy di­rec­tor of Bei­hai Park, said proudly, “Our ecol­ogy pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tional team takes its root in the park’s abun­dant re­sources, and have car­ried out var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, shap­ing an eco­log­i­cal brand with char­ac­ter­is­tics of Bei­hai Park.”

Bei­hai Park fol­lows the lay­out of “one pool and three hills” fea­tured in the im­pe­rial parks and gar­dens, with its var­i­ous gar­den­ing tech­niques since the Jin Dy­nasty, and com­bines im­pe­rial mag­nif­i­cence and gar­den­ing ele­gance in the re­gions south of the Yangtze

River. Tem­ples there ex­press Con­fu­cian, Bud­dhist and Taoist cul­tures. Chi­nese scholar trees from the Tang Dy­nasty (AD 618–907) and an­cient trees granted with tit­u­lar hon­ours tell of the park’s changes through­out the years.

Deputy Di­rec­tor Liu Jun added that Bei­hai Park is turn­ing the park into a ma­ture sci­en­tific pop­u­lar­i­sa­tion brand, pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion base. The park makes the most of dis­tinc­tive lo­tus and chrysan­the­mum shows and pro­tect­ing old trees to dis­play its char­ac­ter­is­tics. The ed­u­ca­tion and pub­lic­ity work goes year-round with high­lights, such as the “Beau­ti­ful Life with Lo­tus Flow­ers” ed­u­ca­tion ac­tiv­ity, the “In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage into Com­mu­nity” se­ries ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­ity re­spond­ing to the Bei­jing Chrysan­the­mum Fair; the “En­ter­ing Im­pe­rial Gar­dens, Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Bril­liant Cul­ture of An­cient Trees” se­ries ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­ity; and a na­tional sci­ence day ac­tiv­ity fea­tur­ing an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture and plants in the park. Also, a sci­ence house in­te­grat­ing sci­ence lec­tures, ex­hi­bi­tion and spec­i­men pro­duc­tion is to be com­pleted in Bei­hai Park. The park, as an el­e­ment of the Cen­tral Axis of Bei­jing, has been in­cluded in the UNESCO World Her­itage Ten­ta­tive List.

Ac­cord­ing to Qian Jun, chief of Gar­den­ing Sci­ence Sec­tion of Bei­hai Park, “Bei­hai Park holds par­ent- child summer camps themed on ‘Beau­ti­ful Life with Lo­tus Flow­ers’ for chil­dren at var­i­ous ages. We also de­sign in­ter­ac­tions and pre­pare small gifts for chil­dren which they like.”

“Ecol­ogy has a subtle ef­fect on chil­dren’s liv­ing habits. While the ‘civilised tour’ is ad­vo­cated, we still have to spend money and labour­ers re­pair­ing lawns af­ter key fes­ti­vals or events each year.” Chief Qian Jun added, “The ac­tiv­ity en­ables chil­dren to have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for plant life and pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.”

A Class of Na­ture

Pass­ing by Haopu Pav­il­ion in which an aquatic plant ex­hi­bi­tion was on show, chil­dren walked around a nurs­ery gar­den full of flow­ers and grass; this is the “back gar­den” of Bei­hai Park called the Plant Cul­ti­va­tion Cen­tre. Chil­dren will do a more in­ter­est­ing “task”— plant­ing flow­ers and plants in the wa­ter by them­selves.

Four desks were placed in the nurs­ery gar­den. Chil­dren from 25 fam­i­lies were grouped around the desks, ea­ger to open the cream- coloured can­vas bags pre­pared in ad­vance and which con­tain a small note­book, a mini elec­tric fan and a small pot of fourleaf peper­o­mia herb.

Wang Hong­tao, an ed­u­ca­tor and 20-year hor­ti­cul­tur­ist from Bei­hai Park don­ning a straw hat, ex­plained hy­dro­ponic plants to the chil­dren in vivid de­tail.

What types of plants are suit­able to grow at home? Which plants are harm­ful to peo­ple? What hy­dro­ponic plants are suit­able at home and what fea­tures do they have? Wang Hong­tao led chil­dren into the world of hy­dro­ponic plants. He also in­tro­duced dif­fer­ent kinds of hy­dro­ponic plants which can be bought on the mar­ket.

“This is a parlour palm from Mex­ico,” Wang said, lift­ing a small glass bot­tle with an ex­otic plant. The chil­dren stared at the plant and ob­served it, “The parlour palm can grow in nor­mal wa­ter and has strong adapt­abil­ity. Ev­ery­body, do you want to try plant­ing it by your­selves?” con­tin­ued Wang. The chil­dren an­swered in uni­son and raised their hands, nod­ding their heads, yelling “Yes!” They be­gan to move right af­ter Wang ex­plained hy­dro­ponic plants.

Flush the root of the parlour palm clean with wa­ter, and put it into a reused light bulb with wa­ter. The chil­dren op­er­ated the pro­ce­dure. Staff stood pre­pared to give in­struc­tions. Par­ents were also busy ask­ing ques­tions to ex­perts to an­swer their chil­dren’s cu­rios­ity, while oth­ers took pho­tos of the event. En­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, en­ergy sav­ing, ecol­ogy and green con­cept in­flu­enced each par­tic­i­pant on a deep level, and the par­ents

smiled when their chil­dren im­mersed them­selves in the ac­tiv­ity.

“This ac­tiv­ity helps de­velop chil­dren's prac­ti­cal ca­pa­bil­ity which can't be ac­com­plished through read­ing sci­ence books. But, it is special to get close to na­ture and grow a hy­dro­ponic plant with pro­fes­sional in­struc­tions avail­able at the site,” ac­cord­ing to Cao Deyu's mother, a pri­mary school teacher. She con­sid­ers com­pe­tency- based and cog­ni­tive ed­u­ca­tion im­por­tant. As a mother of a six- year- old, she knows well that chil­dren in this age group are cu­ri­ous about the world and poised to com­mu­ni­cate and get in­volved. She re­alises the sig­nif­i­cance of en­abling chil­dren to love na­ture and pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment con­sciously, say­ing, “Ev­ery­body should love to be ‘green'.”

The “2017 Green­ing To­gether” event en­joys ad­van­ta­geous re­sources. “Chil­dren can learn from books, which is a special value of this event. We took part in other free and for-profit cour­ses in the past, but the ‘2017 Green­ing To­gether' is or­gan­ised by a gov­ern­men­tal de­part­ment with a dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere, seek­ing to widen chil­dren's hori­zons,” one par­ent said.

Aside from view­ing lo­tuses un­der the White Pagoda, an­other ac­tiv­ity was also ar­ranged ac­cord­ing to the summer sea­son—to pro­duce anti-mos­quito sa­chets with chil­dren.

Honey­suck­les, an­gel­ica roots, cloves, mint, wrin­kled gi­ant hys­sop, folium artemisiae ar­gyi are filled in plas­tic bags on a desk with func­tions of driv­ing away summer heat, mos­qui­toes and in­sects. Sit­ting around Gao Su­lan, a teacher in Bei­hai Park, chil­dren lis­ten to ex­pla­na­tions about what func­tions these ma­te­ri­als have and how to make a sa­chet. Dur­ing this process, chil­dren se­lected their own types, put them into a re­fined sa­chet with the mouth tied.

Each par­tic­i­pat­ing fam­ily will have a piece of ac­tiv­ity log stamped by the ed­u­ca­tion base. Once they col­lected three pieces of such ac­tiv­ity log, the fam­ily will ex­change for a green note­book.

En­joy­ing Ac­tiv­i­ties

Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Xi Jin­ping points out that ecol­ogy con­struc­tion is a com­plex project, in­volv­ing in- depth re­form of civil­i­sa­tion forms in so­ci­ety in ad­di­tion to en­ergy sav­ing or al­le­vi­at­ing pol­lu­tion. To re­alise re­form, ecol­ogy pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion should play a lead­ing role including ide­ol­ogy, con­cept, knowl­edge and be­hav­iour; the ecol­ogy value as well as sound con­duct in pro­duc­tion, liv­ing and con­sump­tion should pre­vail across to build a new har­mo­nious re­la­tion­ship be­tween peo­ple and na­ture, and ful­fil sus­tained de­vel­op­ment among the econ­omy, so­ci­ety and nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

“How did you know about the ‘2017 Green­ing To­gether' event?” “I knew about this from the news and ap­plied on the Wechat ac­count. My child is in­ter­ested in it.” Par­ents ex­pressed that it was a golden op­por­tu­nity to take part when asked about the ap­pli­ca­tion.

As the or­gan­iser of the “2017 Green­ing To­gether,” Green Life mag­a­zine knows the best about the 100 cour­ses, and is the best qual­i­fied to speak on ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Each ed­u­ca­tion base has its own dis­tinc­tive ar­range­ment of course con­tent and high­lights its rou­tine eco­log­i­cal con­tent. For ex­am­ple, wet­land parks pri­mar­ily in­tro­duce an­i­mals and plants as well as eco­log­i­cal sys­tem in the wet­land. Bei­jing In­sti­tute of Land­scape Ar­chi­tec­ture em­pha­sises rare species of Chi­nese roses. All ac­tiv­i­ties are mainly de­signed for fam­i­lies with some for special groups,” said by Li Qingbo, ed­i­tor- in- chief of the Green Life mag­a­zine. Li con­tin­ued, “Take the ac­tiv­ity held in Xiadu Park as an ex­am­ple, par­ents and their chil­dren ac­tively took part in the ac­tiv­ity with com­plete ma­te­ri­als pre­pared. Chil­dren were cu­ri­ous about ev­ery­thing amid na­ture, and pro­fes­sional teach­ers and staffs gave pre­cise in­struc­tions on the site. In the course on Chi­nese roses in the Bei­jing In­sti­tute of Land­scape Ar­chi­tec­ture, ev­ery child se­ri­ously recorded notes. The teach­ing way through lively ac­tiv­i­ties en­ables par­ents and chil­dren to learn eco­log­i­cal knowl­edge eas­ily. Such par­ent- child ac­tiv­ity is help­ful for ecol­ogy to per­me­ate fam­i­lies, the small­est cell of so­ci­ety.”

To im­prove ecol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion, en­ter­prises, schools, NGOS and the pub­lic are all im­por­tant forces, apart from gov­ern­men­tal de­part­ments un­der­tak­ing prin­ci­pal tasks con­cern­ing ecol­ogy. Dif­fer­ent forces should unite to­gether and com­pen­sate with each other to con­struct an eco­log­i­cal pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem at var­i­ous di­men­sions, and pro­mote this along­side ed­u­ca­tion for all peo­ple, across the whole process and in life. This goes from kinder­garten, pri­mary school, mid­dle school, univer­sity, the work­place, fam­ily to so­ci­ety, and in for­mal and in­for­mal set­tings.

The Gen­eral Of­fice will usher in more so­cial re­sources via the “gov­ern­ment's pur­chase of ser­vices,” and work with ed­u­ca­tion bases to host more spe­cialised ac­tiv­i­ties, bring ser­vice, ed­u­ca­tional and demon­stra­tive func­tions of eco­log­i­cal pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion bases in the capital into full play.

Vi­sion

The “2017 Green­ing To­gether” event trans­forms sim­ple teach­ing into proac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence along with in­ter­ac­tions and games for fam­i­lies. Since its ini­ti­a­tion, the event has been widely wel­comed

by par­ents and chil­dren. The event's Wechat ac­count was also opened si­mul­ta­ne­ously, fea­tur­ing eco­log­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and in­ter­ac­tions.

On the home­page of Wechat ac­count of the “2017 Green­ing To­gether,” the event's logo is eye- catch­ing, with three green car­toon fig­ures hand in hand, sym­bol­is­ing fam­ily mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in build­ing a bet­ter eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment; fly­ing green birds im­ply Bei­jing's hope for build­ing a green and eco­log­i­cal city.

In the Wechat ac­count, peo­ple can find de­tailed ac­tiv­ity in­tro­duc­tion, in­for­ma­tion of ed­u­ca­tion bases, and ex­clu­sive ap­pli­ca­tion links. With func­tions of on­line ap­pli­ca­tions, par­tic­i­pa­tion and shar­ing, the ac­count posts in­for­ma­tion on ac­tiv­i­ties, course records and eco­log­i­cal facts each day. Peo­ple who fol­low the of­fi­cial ac­count will be up­dated with the lat­est ac­tiv­i­ties and ap­pli­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion.

Or­gan­is­ers use ef­fec­tive ways to en­sure the in­for­ma­tion of each par­tic­i­pant fam­ily true and valid, sat­is­fy­ing the de­mands of fam­i­lies for an eco­log­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence. These ef­fec­tive ways in­clude ver­i­fy­ing mo­bile phone num­bers, call con­fir­ma­tion and in­for­ma­tion dis­clo­sure. Pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers were avail­able to doc­u­ment the ac­tiv­i­ties. For each ac­tiv­ity, a Wechat chat group will be es­tab­lished in­volv­ing par­tic­i­pant fam­i­lies for com­mu­ni­ca­tion, feed­back and shar­ing course re­views. “It is un­ex­pected that we re­ceived un­in­ter­rupted praise from par­tic­i­pant fam­i­lies, which pro­vides us with more pub­lic­ity chan­nels.”

Course qual­ity has been un­der­lined by the or­gan­iser. To en­sure the qual­ity of each eco­log­i­cal course, the num­ber of par­tic­i­pat­ing fam­i­lies is limited to un­der 30. The num­ber of at­ten­dants on the site may be dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ent cour­ses. Li Qingbo said, “A par­ent sug­gested less par­tic­i­pants to guar­an­tee the course qual­ity as he would like to pay more. For some hot cour­ses, we gen­er­ally sug­gest ap­pli­cants wait for the next course or choose an­other ed­u­ca­tion base.”

For cit­i­zens who fail to ap­ply for the cour­ses, the Gen­eral Of­fice will also launch on­line cour­ses to al­low more fam­i­lies and chil­dren to learn ecol­ogy and sense the charm of na­ture and ecol­ogy.

To grant more ac­cess to more fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties in the capital is the beau­ti­ful vi­sion of eco­log­i­cal pub­lic­ity and ed­u­ca­tion. More par­tic­i­pants and so­cial power are ex­pected to join the event to en­joy the achieve­ments of eco­log­i­cal con­struc­tion in the capital while con­tribut­ing ef­forts in build­ing a green and eco­log­i­cal Bei­jing.

Kids show their logo stick­ers for pro­tect­ing ecol­ogy

Teach­ing kids about va­ri­eties of China roses

Hand­ing out sched­ules for the green event

In­tro­duc­ing lo­tus cul­ture at Bei­hai Park

Ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic about wa­ter plants

Putting fruits in bags to keep mos­qui­toes away

Teach­ing how to grow wa­ter plants

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