PRC “Science of Military Strategy” on Preparing for Future Wars

The Science of Military Strategy is taught in Chinese military academies.  This section, while not surprising, is intriguing.   China hasn’t fought wars for a long time – the last time was the border war with Vietnam which didn’t go too well.  The Chinese media almost never mentions it.   How to prepare for war without recent experience is one of the central questions of this passage.

The Federation of American Scientists introduces this book on their website.

The Science of Military Strategy (2013 edition) 战略学 P. 26 – 27

First of all, students of strategy and for decision-makers who have been living in a long period of peace must be good at learning from past wars. “Every military principle or military theory is something that our predecessors or contemporaries have devised based on the conclusions that they have drawn about the wars of the past. Past wars provide us bloody lessons. We need to study them seriously.” ② [Collected Military Writings of Mao Zedong, Chinese edition, Vol. 1, p. 701] We must root ourselves in the present and look to the future. We should look at the wars of the past with an eye to discerning the path of development. We should take as a reference point what has been useful and avoid repeating the errors of the past. We should discard outmoded experience. We must not allow ourselves to become intoxicated with the glories of our past victories. We must realize that our past victories can become the seeds of our future defeats.

Secondly, we must be good at studying the contemporary wars of other countries. Since during peacetime we have had very little direct operational experience of war, it becomes even more important than ever to pay close attention to getting indirect operational experience by studying the wars of other countries. We need to take the way that other countries today go to war as a reference point as we determine our own military strategy. From this experience of other countries, we will be able to learn about the basic characteristic and trends in the development of the forms of warfare, the modes of war fighting, and methods of fighting wars. Thus we will be able to discover and draw conclusions from the most important warfighting principles and principles for directing a battle. From this, factoring in our own national circumstances and the characteristics of our military, we will be able to make specific plans for the future wars that we may face and guide the modernization of our forces. The main motivation for the Chinese military in 1993 in setting down its “military strategy and overall policies for the new era” was that we could see after the First Gulf War that the age of high tech warfare was coming.

We imitate the enemy in order to establish dominance over the enemy. A military strategy is a concrete focused plan. A military strategy cannot be set by a dilettante or an armchair strategist. During peacetime we seek to grab an advantageous position. While at war we seek victory in struggle with the enemy. Setting a military strategy requires aiming to understand reality and potential adversaries. Approach as a student the task of conscientiously polishing military theories, military systems, military capabilities and battle characteristics. Studying and researching the nature of the adversary is not studying for the sake of studying or doing research for the sake of research. The object is to be able to bring the adversary under control. “Reach a thorough understanding of all the characteristics of the enemy and of oneself” in order to understand the principles and methods for subduing the enemy in battle. On one hand we need to study the strong points of the adversary and in peacetime learn from them as an example. In wartime, we will “use the tactics of others against them”.

On the other hand, we need to study our adversary’s weaknesses. We need to look for those weaknesses in both the combat system layer and the war system layer including military deficiencies, as well as weak points in politics, economy, and civilian morale. If we take this approach when decide upon a strategy, the strategy will be more effective. We will expand our strategic planning space and enrich our strategic methods. Therefore we will be in a better position to achieve our strategic intent of taking advantage of our strengths on the battlefield and controlling the enemy through his weaknesses.

Pay close attention to the advanced design of future wars. Advanced design of future wars is done according to the development of trends for future wars. This includes planning for war long in advance, planning the long-development of the national defense and of the military, and learning scientific methods for winning the initiative in future wars. The heart of this is facing the future, designing for the future and winning the future.
First of all, we need to develop new combat theories and methods through simulation experiments and then put them into practice in training and in combat. In the era of informatization by using computers and networking technologies, great progress has been made in ways and methods for advanced design of future battles. Simulations and modeling and on-base games have already risen from the tactical level to the strategic level. Strategic concepts, strategic preparation planning, and strategic theory will be created in war preparation implementation environments, debugged and improved.

For example, the US military has already developed a complete combat innovation system. From the “integrated ground-air battle” of the 1980s to the “integrated air-sea battle” announced not long ago as well as other advanced combat theories. These all use advanced S&T methods to support relevant experiments and verification to support the development and improvement of these theories.

In order to adapt to these trends, our military will need to organically integrate the research departments that work on innovative battle concepts and theories, the experimental offices that work on demonstrations of combat concepts and theories, the experimental offices that work on verification of combat concepts and theories, and the combat troops who provide the combat strength. We need to create a new type of man-machine integrated closed-loop feedback control system for preparation of the battlefield. This will provide the support of S&T methods to enable us to move from passively adapting to trends in future warfare to taking the initiative in designing the wars of the future, establish military strategies, and creating new military strategies.

Chinese text:

结。这些过去的战争所留给我们的血的教训,应该着重地学习它。” ②应立足现在,着眼未来,以发展的眼光看待过去的战争,借鉴仍然有益的东西,规避可能重复的错误,抛弃, 已经过时的经验。尤其不能陶醉于自己过去战争胜利的辉煌之中,必须看到过去的胜利可
能就是未来失败的种子。二是要善于研究当代他国的战争。在和平条件下直接战争实践机会较少, 一定意义上,更需要关注间接战争实践,把当代他国进行的战争作为自己制定军事战略的参照物,从中把握战争形态、作战形式、作战方法的基本特点和发展趋势,发现和总结当代具有主导性的战争规律和战争指导规律,再把自己的国情、军情加上去,有针对性地筹划未来可能面临的战争,指导军队现代化建设。1993 年我军制定新时期军事战略方针,其基本的动因就是从海湾战争中预见到了高技术战争时代的来临。

师敌以制敌。军事战略是具体的有针对性的运筹,制定军事战略就不是漫无目的和边际的纸上谈兵。平时争夺优势、战时谋求胜利的敌我对抗,决定了制定军事战略需要瞄准现实和潜在对手,以学习的态度来认真琢磨其军事理论、军事体系、军事能力和作战特点。学习和研究对手,不是为学习而学习,为研究而研究,而是以克制对手为目的,”熟识敌我各方面的情况”,努力探寻战胜对于的规律和办法。一方面要研究对手之所长,平时为我借鉴吸收,战时”以其人之道还治其人之身” 。另一方面更要注重研究对手之所短,从作战体系和战争体系两个层面寻找其弱点,既包括军事上的不足,也包括政治、经济及民众精神和心理上的”软肋”,从而在制定战略时更加有的放矢,扩大战略运筹空间,丰富战略方式方法,以便更有效地实现扬己之长、克敌之短的战略意图。

在信息化条件下,借助计算机和网络技术,战争预实践的手段和方法大为拓展,仿真、模拟和基地演练已经从战役战术层面上升到战略层面,战略构想、战略预案和战略理论将在战争预实践环境中生成、检验并完善。如美军已形成了完整的作战创新体系,从20 世纪80 年代提出”空地一体战”到前不久提出”空海一体战”等高端作战理论,都广泛运用高科技手段开展相关实验论证,为其发展完善提供牵引支撑。适应这一新趋势,我军应当把创新作战概念和理论的研究部门、演示作战概念和理论的实验部门、验证作战概念和理论的实验部队、实际生成战斗力的作战部队有机联系起来,形成人机结合、环路闭合的新型战争预实践机制,变被动适应未来战争为主动设计未来战争,为制定军事战略、创新军事战略提供先进的科学的方法支撑。

② 《毛泽东军事文集》第l 卷,第701 页,军事科学出版社、中央文献出版
社1993 年版。
Full text is online at

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The Development of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Tibetan Areas


<<中国藏学CHINA TIBETOLOGY>>2008年第1期

作者: 王士勇

学术期刊 QCode : zhonggzx200801016


The Development of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Tibetan Areas

China Tibetan Studies中国藏学 China Tibetology 1/2008 pp. 134 – 138

By Wang Shiyong 王士勇 Assistant Professor at Qinghai Normal University 青海师范大学 民族部 Nationalities Department. He is currently working on a PhD at Helsinki University in Finland.

Begin Summary:

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are a prime driver of economic and employment growth throughout the world. In China, non-state SME’s contributed 1% of China’s GDP in 1979 but had grown to 20% of GDP by 2001. During 2001 – 2005, the proportion of people employed by non-state SMEs grew from 65% to 75%, employing many people who were laid off by failing state enterprises. For example during 1997 – 1999, 27 million people were laid off by state enterprises. Of these 22 million found new jobs, 95% with non-state SMEs. The contribution of non-state SMEs to GDP is high on China east coast, especially in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. In the Wenzhou, Zhejiang area, non-state SMEs account for 95% of local GDP.

The vast majority of China’s non-state SMEs are on the east coast. On the east coast, the non-socialist sector of the economy contributed 52% of GDP in 2000, while in the west, only 18%. In the Tibetan areas of China, this figure is even lower. The author of this article, Wang Shiyong 王士勇 in his surveys in ethnic Tibetan areas of China was that even where Tibetans were in the majority, they were under 20% of the merchants. Other scholars encountered the same situation.

For example, a detailed study done in 2003 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (See the 2005 study entitled “Marketization and Grassroots Social Services: The Case of Tibet” 市场化与基层公共服务:西藏案例研究 edited by Wang Luolin 王洛林 and Zhu Ling, published by the Nationalities Press.) — a part of a project to study the social and economic development of the TAR. The research report noted that if the 1367 private enterprises and 48,333 individual entrepreneurs (个体户) operating in the TAR in 2002, 80% were from outside the TAR. At the Zongjiao Road Kangnong Market near the western side of the Potala Palace, of the 645 individual entrepreneurs at the market, only 2 of the stands were run by ethnic Tibetans. Even in places where Tibetans are most concentrated, such as the Barkhor area, ethnic Tibetans are in the minority. According to 2003 registrations at the Barkhor street commerce and industry office, over 60% of the shops were run by people from outside the TAR and fewer than 40% of the shops were run by ethnic Tibetans.

The question of why the Tibetans cannot effectively take part in market competition, or why the market competitiveness of Tibetans is relatively weak involves political, economic, cultural, geographical and environmental factors and is very difficult to answer simply. To answer the question of the causes of why Tibetans cannot effectively take part in a market economy would require research into social systems, legal systems, the development of infrastructure, education and culture, market access and many other questions. This article explores the present situation of Tibetan SMEs and the difficulties they face.

The author, Wang Shiyong in 2004 made a survey of SMEs run by ethnic Tibetans on the problems they faced. Of the 95 valid responses received, 36 were from TAR SMEs, 27 from Qinghai SMEs and 26 from Sichuan Province Tibetan areas SMEs, with the remainder from the Tibetan areas of Gansu and Yunnan Provinces. The 95 SMEs surveyed are very small as is typical of Tibetan SMEs. Forty percent employ 20 or fewer people. Another 30% employ 20 – 50 people. Only seven of the Tibetan SMEs surveyed employed 300 or more people. Although some of the SMEs surveyed have 20 – 50 employees, and a few several hundred, the great majority of Tibetan SMEs are individual entrepreneurs. In many Tibetan areas, it is rare to see a Tibetan running a private enterprise and even in Lhasa where Tibetan SMEs are concentrated, Tibetan run private enterprises only account for about 20% of all the private enterprises in the city. According to a 2003 Lhasa City Commerce and Industry Association study, of 178 of the 438 private enterprises registered, they found that Tibetan run private enterprises only came to about 20%.

Tibetan enterprises are small and concentrate in just a few sectors. Of the 95 Tibetan SMEs surveyed by the author, 42% were engaged in manufacturing or processing, especially of Tibetan soap and Tibetan rugs. Commerce accounted for another 36% of the enterprises. The remainder concentrated in the service sector, especially restaurants and guest houses. Only 5% of the Tibetan enterprises were involved in agricultural or animal husbandry products.

Tibetans companies are concentrated in just a few sectors. In a survey done by the author in Gansu Province’s Gannan Prefecture, of the 370 enterprises operating on the two major commercial streets, only 30 were run by Tibetans. Of the 30 Tibetan individual entrepreneurs, 18 were engaged in small retail trade, 5 in running restaurants, 4 running a clothing store and 3 running a small guest house.

The situation was similar in Qinghai Province’s Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Of the 494 small retailers, guesthouses, restaurants and other businesses on the main commercial streets, only 166 or 33% were run by Tibetans. Worth noting that of the 33 repair shops that require some degree of skill, not one was run by a Tibetan.

Since most Tibetan SMEs are very small, many have no system of management, the manager also does the work and so neglects to make a long term business plan. Eighty percent said they had a business plan, but is usually wasn’t written, existing only in the mind of the proprietor. Eighty five percent of the Tibetan SMEs did not keep sales records. Very few kept any written records about the business.

Moreover, of the Tibetan SMEs surveyed, only 36% had ever borrowed money from a bank. Most got their operating capital from family and friends. Difficulties in finance were a serious problem for most Tibetan enterprises – 53% responded that is was their most difficult continuing problem. This shows that what is missing is a government policy to give favorable treatment of minority nationalities in the area of finance. It also shows that many Tibetan enterprises lack an understanding of and ability to handle financial matters. Other missing elements are a fund to guarantee loans and market information services.

Marketing is another big problem the survey revealed. Most of the Tibetan run businesses were founded after 1990, and 40% of them after 2000, well after reform and intensified market competition had come to eastern China. Thus Tibetan businesses just starting up were hit by competitors from eastern China who had already been toughened by years of competition and had already won most of the market. Moreover the processing technology of Tibetan firms was so far behind competitors for the Chinese interior that firms from the interior made big inroads into producing traditional Tibetan products. Today as market competition becomes ever more intense, due to a variety of historical, environmental, and educational factors, many Tibetan are unfamiliar with markets. As a result, the biggest problem facing Tibetan firms is marketing their products.

Tibetan companies also face a severe shortage of Tibetans with good technical skills. Tibetan education is not only far behind Han education but also that of other minorities. For example, in Tibet the rate of illiteracy or semi-illiteracy in 2005 for people between the ages of 18 and 44 was 44.84%, the highest in western China’s provinces and regions. This is much higher than the corresponding nationwide rate of 11.04%. If we look at the proportion of people who have graduated from middle school or high school, the situation is even worse. In 2005, China nationwide 38.3% of the population had graduated from middle school and 12.4% from high school. The corresponding proportions in the Tibetan Autonomous Region are 8.4% and 2.1%, the lowest in all of China. Developing education is essential to improving the quality of the labor force and to economic development. There is a severe shortage of investment in education in the Tibetan areas. In many Tibetan areas there is not even one vocational school. Therefore finding technically qualified people in the Tibetan areas is relatively difficult.

Most of the heads of Tibetan enterprises surveyed had relatively good educations. Forty-five percent were graduates of a university or technical institute while 27% were high school graduates and 18% middle school graduates. There are very few enterprises founded by Tibetan, but nearly all of them have good educations. Thus the lack of many educated people is a severe handicap to Tibetan business. Nonetheless, many Tibetan businesspeople surveyed did not have clear ideas about how to run a business — this shows that even where there is Tibetan education, it does not pay much attention to markets and business.

As far as I know, in all the Tibetan areas of China, there are only two schools where Tibetans can learn about developing a business. Yet many of the teachers at these schools are not well qualified. Some of the teachers teaching business have their qualification not in business but in the Tibetan language. The lack of business knowledge makes it hard for Tibetans business to compete successful in a very competitive business environment. Many don’t know how to make a business plan and don’t understand how to read financial accounts. There is a very serious need to train Tibetans in business management. Sixty-three percent of the Tibetan businesspeople surveyed said they needed help in business management. Half said they need training in marketing. Faced with these problems, some Tibetan enterprises hire Han employees to manage the company. Cultural misunderstandings however, often lead to poor communications in those situations, however.


Entrepreneurs and their personal characteristics are key to economic development. Entrepreneurs need to be risk takers and to be good at discovering and taking advantage of market opportunities. Most come from families that have run businesses. In Tibet, there are not many families that have run businesses, but Tibetan entrepreneurs come from families that believe in letting people choose their own occupation and often have a merchant background or have started up a business. This shows the importance of experience to setting up a business.

Due to historical reasons, very few Tibetan have had merchandising as their principal occupation. Their contact with markets has been limited to what they use to satisfy their daily needs. Although farmers and herders exchange salt and grain every year, this activity was not big enough to create the occupation of merchant in Tibetan society. Before 1952, the monasteries controlled the entire political and economic life of Tibet and much of the productive activity of the entire society was dedicated to providing for the needs of the monasteries.

The lack of a merchant tradition in Tibet makes strengthening education even more important. Human capital is the most important factor in production, especially in the knowledge economy of today. Much research shows that improving education and increasing employment is a necessary condition for solving the problem of social marginalization. Some Chinese scholars say whether human resources can be developed is the key question in the development of western China.

Education is very important but it is not the only thing. Research has shown that many successful small and medium sized enterprises, before they were founded or in their early development, got help and advice from various service institutions. SMEs often need help in matters such as increasing productivity, reducing capital costs, improving management and absorbing new technology. Many SMEs are capital starved and need help from society.

Getting more Tibetans involved in the market economy will require a very large investment in education, and particularly in vocational education. A social services network to help ethnic Tibetan SMEs should be established so that they will be able to get the market information, advice, planning, and production services they need without having to surmount a language barrier. In this way a cooperative environment favorable to the development of ethnic Tibetan small and medium sized enterprises can be created.

End summary 

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Translation of Chinese Navy Recruiting Video

Chinese PLA Navy recruiting video on Youtube.

Opening video slot – Chinese PLA Navy emblem:  Navy recruiting publicity film

Our Dream

We were born in the 1990s

By then China had already risen  [images of return of Hong Kong and Macao in 1997]

We have the same concerns

With bright dreams, we want to shine like the new century

For our dreams

We want to give our all

We want to grow be very strong

The Call of Duty

Seventy-one percent of this globe we depend upon is blue water

No matter which corner of the globe

Wherever there is blue water, we are there to protect the security of navigation

The ideology of the “One Belt and the One Road”      [Note: President Xi Jinping’s new silk road concept for China’s economic development]

China’s oceanic and overseas interests are developing rapidly.

Our land is vast

But we will not yield a single inch of our frontiers to foreigners

China has 3 million square kilometers of ocean under its jurisdiction

Including 6700 islands with a surface area of over 500 square meters

The struggle over sea rights has not ended – we will not give up even the tiniest bit of our resources   [pictures of oil rigs at sea]

The Honor Gene

Thousands of sea battles forged us

In very bloody combat

Hot blood and the smell of gunpowder

We kept working hard

We kept growing

The passionate efforts of youth

Forging in trials makes possible the breakthrough

We maintain combat readiness

We are prepared for war

What we really want is to grow together with you

Let’s all share together

Seeking the Blue Dream

We are stronger because you are stronger

Here with us, you will be able to reach your dreams

Here with us, we will let you demonstrate your extraordinary talents  [sailor holding a child’s drawing “We are in the Navy too!”]

Here we us, we give you the chance to sprout wings

[Group with Chinese flags and smaller UK flags, banner written “Giving a Warm Send-Off to the Chinese Naval Expeditionary Force!”]

Here, the eyes of the entire world are open us!

This the Chinese Navy!

This is you with us – full of pride!

A strong motherland needs a strong navy

The Navy needs you.

Let’s together realize the dream of the great Chinese renaissance.

Title at end in calligraphy:  Sail the four seas, brave and courageous

End title under PLA Navy emblem:   We invite you to join the Chinese Navy

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Core Readings for Chinese Communist Party Discipline Inspectors August 2015

Here are some core readings for the Chinese Communist Party Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection dated mid-August and now released on the Party central corruption-fighting website at .

Interesting fodder for meditating on how the Party is struggling to find a system fix to decorruptify itself without exposing itself to democratic alternatives.

The discussion of the permanent branches of the Commission to be resident at lower level State and Party organization is a significant departure from the Dual Leadership System that has made China very decentralized and promoted a passive attitude towards law and central government directives.  Lack of legal strictures on the Party itself could mean that if this succeeds then officials at various levels will be more obedient but even more passive for fear of the sky falling in on them.

According to the readings, the 18th Congress of the Communist Party authorized the Central Discipline and Inspection Commission to create permanent branches in central party and central government organizations.  党的十二大通过的党章规定:“党的中央纪律检查委员会根据工作需要,可以向中央一级党和国家机关派驻党的纪律检查组或纪律检查员。”The readings say coverage is still spotty  — about 50 out of 140-odd Party and central government organizations.  The readings mention that the branch disciplinary offices are responsible to the leadership of the organizations they inhabit — I wonder if that could be a system flaw in anti-corruption work.  十八届三中全会决定第36条规定,派驻机构对派出机关负责,履行监督职责。

I had the impression from my readings that there were already some Central Discipline and Inspection Commission branch office in the provinces but I may be mistaken. According to this reading, details for that will be finalized by the end of 2015.  今年年底前,中央纪委还要再新设部分派驻机构,并对保留的派驻机构进行改革和调整,这样就能实现派驻全覆盖的目标。中央纪委已经为省区市推进全面派驻作出示范,省一级要“照方抓药”,加强派驻机构建设,切实强化党内监督

推进全面派驻 监督全面从严

来源:中央纪委监察部网站 发布时间:2015-09-21 06:00







创新组织制度 实现全面派驻

来源:中央纪委监察部网站 发布时间:2015-08-24 06:00







来源:中央纪委监察部网站 发布时间:2015-08-31 06:00






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Heilongjiang Petitioner: Local Police Covered Up Husband’s Death

The Central Inspection Team Has Taken Note of the Case of the Death of Yang Long but No Action Has Been Taken

[Tianwang, Heilongjiang Province, August 29, 2015] This afternoon Zu Rongzhi of Fuqiang Village, Fengle District, Bayan County, Harbin City in Heilongjiang Province contacted the Tianwang Human Rights Center. Although the Central Inspection Team is aware of the case of the death of Yang Long, the Heilongjiang police have not taken up the case.

According to the report, “I have been busily petitioning about the death case of my husband Yang Long for fifteen years. To this day, the family has not received a reasonable explanation for his death. In January 2011, Yang and five other teachers after having a meal died on the way home. The local public security bureau without out examining any evidence or doing any investigation, determined that they all froze to death after drinking. Later, after I had made repeated requests, the Harbin City Public Security Bureau medical examiner examined the bodies. The conclusion was that they had been beaten to death by a blunt instrument.

After a major suspect was discovered, the local law enforcement departments repeatedly did cover-ups for the suspect who colluded with them to make a false statement. Six years later, the Bayan County Public Security Bureau raised an objection and did a second examination. This second examination was not certified with the seal of the medical examiner. The Banyan Public Security Bureau used this second examination as a pretext to reject our criminal case. I did not accept this conclusion and accused them of making a false examination. Therefore the People’s Republic of China Public Security Bureau Material Evidence Examination Center did a third examination. Their conclusion was that the deceased had been beaten to death by very powerful blows from a blunt object. Despite the clear evidence and conclusions, the Public Security organs wanted to have nothing to do with the case.

After the Central Inspection Group became aware of this case and ordered the County Public Security Bureau to take up the case based on the conclusion of the medical examiner. However, after the Inspection Group left, nothing happened. I had no alternative by go to Beijing. On August 20, 2015 I went to Beijing to visit the Public Security Bureau in Beijing and to the State Petition Bureau and to the Central Disciplinary and Inspection Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party and continue my petitioning.

Original Chinese text at

[Note: Above the original Chinese language report are photographs of the report date January 29, 2007 by two Heilongjiang Province Public Security Office medical examiners who concluded that Yang Long interaction of his head and a blunt object during the course of a collision lead to his fatal head injury.]

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Chinese Scholars Discuss Chinese Maritime Security Vulnerabilities and How China Might Reduce Them

Du Debin, editor of the Chinese geographic and geostrategy journal World Regional Studies, and his co-authors in the June 2015 issue of World Regional Studies published an examination of China’s maritime security vulnerabilities and how China can reduce them.  The article is online at

Nothing very surprising, but a nice, clear discussion of China’s geographic constraints by a Chinese professional geographer and a flavor of current Chinese domestic discourse on this issue.

Copied below is a summary translation of “Research on China’s Maritime Transportation Security and Thoughts on Its Protection” .  The Chinese original text is also attached.  World Regional Studies claims that its audience includes officials at the Chinese Foreign Ministry and other central government organizations.

The authors focus on Chinese maritime security vulnerabilities, noting that currently the US and its allies have a global and robust capability to disrupt Chinese maritime commerce and with it China’s national economy.  The authors propose that China reduce tensions and build trust through expanded cooperation with the US and the countries along its sea routes and more active participate in maritime organizations.  They authors also stress that China needs, over the longer term, to build up its navy so that China will be able to deter interference with its shipping by foreign powers.

World Regional Studies June 2015     Vol 24 No. 2

Research on China’s Maritime Transportation Security and Thoughts on Its Protection

Tu Debin (Huadong Normal University), Ma Liya (Huadong Normal University), Fan Bei (Shanghai Normal University), and Hui Caixing (Wuhan University)


杜德斌,马亚华,等. 中国海上通道安全及保障思路研究[J].世界地理研究,2015,24(2):1-10

DU D B, MA Y H, China’s maritime transportation security and its measures of safeguard [J].

World Regional Studies, 2015,24(2):1-10

[Translation of article summary]:   Since China’s reform and opening began, and especially since its entry into the WTO, China’s supply of raw materials and the marketing of China’s manufactured goods has been closely tied to foreign countries and China’s maritime  transportation.  Owing to the very large scale of China’s maritime trade and its concentration in several areas of the world and the closed or semi-closed nature of some seas, China’s maritime security concerns in areas such as the Malacca Strait are much greater than other countries.  China has not yet built a maritime security system that matches China’s economic strength and its present needs.  Therefore China’s overseas supply chain faces many security threats that could damage China’s national economy.  Strategic threat come principally from the US, Japan and India.  Among these, the US is the only that that through its global system of alliances could close down the sea lanes and paralyze the Chinese transportation system.  Therefore, based on an analysis of China’s maritime security situation and of China’s strategic assets, this article proposes “through co-operation reduce threats and through deterrence guarantee security”.  Therefore, we propose, centered on the construction of a “new kind of great power relationship between China and the US”, to strongly promote strategic and in various practical matters cooperation with the US, Russia, and countries along the sea lanes, as well as make preventive strategic deployments along the South China Sea in order to increase Chinese deterrence and so protect the security of China’s maritime transportation.

[Summary translation of article follows]

  1. The Position and Function of Maritime Transportation in China’s Social and Economic Development
  • The Chinese Economy is Severely Dependent Upon Foreign Trade


The Chinese economy is strongly oriented to the outside world, with a very high volume of both imports and exports, ninety percent of which are transported by sea.

In the decades since China’s opening and reform, and particularly in the ten-odd years since China’s WTO entry,  foreign markets and foreign trade have become an ever more important to the Chinese economy.  In 2014, China exports were US $ 2.3427 trillion and imports amounted to US$ 1.9603 trillion – respectively 240 and 183 times the 1978 totals.  Although it has declined somewhat from 2006, the dependence of the Chinese economy on foreign trade is about 50% — higher than other large countries such as the US, Japan and  India.  China is the world’s largest importer of strategic resources such as iron ore, coal and food and the second largest importer of oil.  China is 60% dependent on oil imports.  China imports 71% of the world trade in iron ore, 25% of the coal, 28% of the food and 14% of the crude oil.  In China, 200 million people are directly or indirectly employed as a result of China’s foreign trade or about one-quarter of China’s labor force.

  • China’s Foreign Trade is Severely Dependent Upon Maritime Transportation

Ever since 2000, China’s trade freight volume has been increasing at a 15% annual pace, reaching 3.52 billion tons in 2014. Ninety-five percent of this is shipped by sea. Broken down by commodity,  the proportion shipped by sea are crude oil 94%, food imports 92%, coal imports 91%, iron ore imports 98%, traditional large products 86%,  and machinery and electrical products 73%.  China’s maritime trade consumes about 1/3 of the total world maritime shipping capacity.   About half of China’s maritime trade goes by a southern route Southeast Asia; a western route past SE Asia and on onwards to the Middle East, West Africa or Europe.   Twenty-five percent goes eastwards across the Pacific to North America and Latin America. By value the picture is different: 50% on the eastern route, 34% on the western and 10% on the southern route. The western route has the most strategic importance: by value it transports 80% of China’s crude oil imports, 64% of its natural gas imports, 22% of its iron ore imports, and 50% of its manganese ore imports.

1.3  China’s Maritime Transportation is Severely Dependent Upon a Few Maritime Passages

China is highly dependent on shipping through a few sea routes that pass through narrow straits such as the Malacca Strait, Strait of Hormuz, Bab el-Mandab and the Suez Canal. Access to s to Australia and Southeast Asia rely heavily on transport of goods through the Bashi Channel, the Strait of Sunda and Lombok Strait.  Chinese routes to Japan and the United States pass near the Okinawa island chain.  Shipments to the east coast of North America pass through the Panama Canal.

PRC shipping routes

China’s Maritime Trade Routes and Passages (circles)

As China’s imports of raw materials continue to rise and these supplies for China are concentrated in ever fewer areas, the problem of China’s trade passing through choke points is becoming more acute.  Eighty percent of China’s oil imports pass through the Malacca Strait.

  1. Challenges and Threats to China’s Maritime Security

China has not yet created strategic resources to match the size of its economy and its present needs.   China is seriously short of capacity to ensure the security of Chinese shipping, particularly lacking in the ability to assert strategic control of its oil shipping route through the Indian Ocean.  This means that China’s overseas supply chain has long been exposed to security threats and in particular strategic threats from western countries.  This is a potential threat to the smooth running of the Chinese national economy and a strategic weakness that cannot be ignored.

US bases and key Chinese maritime passages

US Military Bases Worldwide and Key Maritime passages (circles)

2.1 Most of the World’s Sea Routes are Under US Control

The world’s sea lanes are largely under US control.  In 1986, before the end of the Cold War, the US announced that it in a war it would control 16 strategic choke points around the world.   In 1998, the US clarified its position, saying that the Malacca Strait and other energy shipping lanes are an interest of the US and that the US military will have full control of all the strategic passages, straits and waters of the Indian Ocean (9).   In the 21st century, by starting the Afghanistan War, the US linked up its western and eastern strategic areas by linking them in South Asia.  This completed the first ever strategic encirclement of the Eurasian landmass. The US has 374 military bases in 140 countries and regions at which are stationed 300,000 military personnel.  Using these resources, the US can control all the strategic nodes and passageways on the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

2.2  The US Intent to Block China’s Maritime Routes is Getting Clearer

 During the Cold War, the US and its allies were capable of sealing off  China’s maritime routes to the south and west and so constrained China’s strategic space.  During the first decade of the 21st century, China rapidly integrated into the world economic system, grew rapidly.  The global balance of power shifted towards the developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region.  Owing to this change as well as differences in values and ideology, the US increased its capacity to repress China and the sea became an important part of the global competition between the US and China.

In 2009,  the Obama Administration announced its “Rebalancing to Asia” policy and planned to deploy 60% of US nuclear submarines and half of its aircraft carriers to the Asia-Pacific region and made plans with Japan and certain Asian countries for a “C-shaped strategic encirclement of China” using the first and second offshore island chains.  Over the past five years, successfully taking advantage of the anxiety China’s neighbors feel about China, the US strengthened its military alliance with Japan and improved its military ties with countries such as Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia creating a multi-level, offshore attack posture of great depth.  To meet the needs of the US return to Asia, the US government in 2010 enunciated the integrated air-sea battle theory and proposed working together with Asia-Pacific allies to create an integrated strategic space that would include air, sea and outer space elements so that they could destroy a “regional opponent”  (China) ‘s strategic capability to intervene.

In the future, the western Pacific will be the region which will have the most US forces stationed, the most advanced armaments and the strongest control of the air. The response speed of US bases will increase and China’s problem of security its nearby sea lanes will become more complicated.  They are by nature placed in a position in which they could threaten China’s sea lanes. The two countries have increased their maritime security cooperation and overall strategic cooperation with the US and have established a strategic control of the seas strategy devised chiefly to constrain China.  They continually increase their interest in disputes over rights and their control over the neighboring seas. This has compressed the sphere of China’s maritime interests and reduced its strategic depth.

2.3 The Big Countries Neighboring China Have Been Creating Their Maritime Strategies

 In Asia, Japan and India have significant operational capacity.  They are in similar locations and have overlapping strategic spaces so they both have a strategic intent to exclude China.  The two countries stand astride the strategic corridor from China to the Pacific and Indian oceans respectively.

The primary goal of Japan’s maritime security strategy, founded on the US – Japan alliance, is to ensure Japan’s rights in the neighboring seas and to secure Japan’s long distance sea lanes.  Japan and China have similar concerns about maritime security and its sea lanes are largely the same as China’s.  Thus there is great scope for cooperation.  However, because of the US-Japan alliance and because of its territorial dispute with China, Japan in maritime matters looks at China as a power that needs to be defended against and not a potential partner for cooperation.  After the Taiwan Straits crisis of 1995, Japan adjusted the mission of its Maritime Security force, expanding their scope of operations to distant sea lane protection.  Japan is a two-fold threat to China: first as an ally of the US which uses Okinawa and other coral islands as the base for an anti-submarine and monitoring network which can monitor and if necessary block Chinese access to the Pacific Ocean.  As a country that has now extended its maritime patrols along sea lanes towards the Indian Ocean and could use the Strait of Malacca, Japan could also stop Chinese shipping going south or west.

India’s maritime strategy is very simple that it to be the predominant maritime power in the Indian Ocean.  India sees the entire Indian Ocean as its strategic backyard and wants to control the sea lanes from East Africa to Malaysia.  From the 1990s, India as based forces in the Andaman and Nicobar islands so that it can control the passage from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  For a long time, India has seen China as an obstacle to expanding its influence in South Asia and deliberately ignores China’s interests in the region.  As both the US and China increase their presence in the Indian Ocean, India decided to “cooperate with the US to stop China”.

2.4  Instability in the Regions Along China’s Sea Routes is Getting Worse

 China’s long-distance sea routes pass by many unstable areas which had become more unstable after the end of the Cold War and the 2008 financial crisis. In Southeast Asia, the US continually talks up the China threat and has encouraged the Philippines and some small ASEAN countries to dispute China’s maritime rights.  As a result, China’s doorway to the southern seas would be in danger if a war should break out.  In Northeast Asia, the US stresses the Korean issue and disputes between China and Japan are increasing tensions in the region.  This puts pressure on the sea lanes near the Korean strait and the Okinawan islands.

2.5  Many Kinds of Non-Traditional Threats are Becoming More Serious

 China maritime security faces formidable non-traditional as well as traditional security threats.  According to the International Maritime Organization, there are over 1000 incidents of piracy, seventy percent of which occur in Asia.  In recent years, the number of pirate and seaborne terror attacks against Chinese shipping has been increasing, make China one of the world’s biggest victims of piracy.  Although for now the West is the main target of terrorist, this may change – terrorists may choose China as a terror target.  Considering that traditional security threats are not diminishing, the increase in piracy and seaborne terrorism means that the threat to the security of China’s sea lanes is becoming more serious.

  1. Thoughts on Protecting China’s Maritime Security

China’s maritime security problem is the result of the rapid increase in China’s overseas interests and its challenge to the current configuration of international maritime security interests. The Somalia pirates and other seaborne terrorists generally come from small countries and are not big enough to seriously perturb China’s maritime transport security.  China’s maritime strategic threat comes from the US, Japan and India.  Of these three countries, the US is the only country that could use the power of its global alliances to close off the principal sea lanes and so paralyze the Chinese transportation system.   China still lags far behind the US in both hard and soft power.  However, China has a culture of deep strategic thinking and rapidly developing national strength.  Over the short term, its strategy is in important areas of the Pacific Ocean and in the Indian Ocean to have a limited engagement with strategic opponents by using political, economy and military resources to assure a relatively secure environment.  We will take an overall approach of “reducing risks through cooperation, and ensure security through deterrence”, and centering on the “new type of great power relationship” between China and the US, work strenuously to promote with the US, Russia, and the countries along the sea lanes strategic and other types of cooperation.   We should strive with sincerity and great effort to create a space of mutual benefit in which we work to reduce all kinds of maritime security risks.  At the same time, we should do preventive deployment of strategic assets in the South China Sea and along the sea lanes to the Indian Ocean and so create a security system along the sea lanes.  We should increase the deterrent capability of Chinese sea power in to prevent dangerous maritime activities against China and to so be able to fundamentally guarantee the security of China’s sea lanes.

3.1   Reduce Maritime Security Risks Through Co-operation

 Peaceful development has already become a guiding principle of our times. The international system has become increasingly integrated and complex.  State means for assuring security have become more diverse and comprehensive.  In the domain of maritime security, China should vigorously promote the new concepts of the “harmonious seas” and “cooperation on security” in order to maintain a just order on the high seas and legal maritime rights, stand for mutual trust, mutual interests, equality and cooperation, increase the cooperation of international society,  and create with the countries involved a “joint system for maritime navigation” so that we can work together to respond to maritime security threats and challenges.

3.1.1  Vigorously Seek Maritime Security Co-operation with the US


The US is the main security threat to China’s sea lanes and so it should be China’s most important partner in building cooperation in maritime security matters. Strengthening China’s cooperation with the US not only helps controls the strategic risk of conflict between the two countries, reduce the risk of conflict on the high seas, and helps China respond to various kinds of non-traditional maritime security threats.  Therefore, China should strive to establish a maritime security partnership with the US.  Where China and the US have mutual interests, such as in confronting piracy and seaborne terrorism, and in other areas such as illegal migration and drug smuggling, we need to deepen cooperation.  We need to be finding and opening up new areas of cooperation so that we can expand the domain of mutual cooperation so that both countries are equal and responsible upholders of maritime interests, further increase economic and trade cooperation.  Creating a system in which we are tied together by our mutual interests will help the Chinese side and both sides reduce conflicts of interest in certain areas.  Taking the non-traditional security area as an entry point, continually work to cooperation in military and security affairs, gradually strengthen strategic trust and avoid strategic confrontations.

3.1.2 Deepen Maritime Strategic Cooperation with Russia

 China and Russia share a common interest in facing the Western threat. Cooperation with Russia will not only help resolve differences in view on maritime interest but will also help maintain the global strategic balance but also help in other areas such as a hedge against the strategic risk from the US and in restraining Indian adventurism.  In the foreseeable future, Russia will be a strategic partner with China in ensuring maritime security.  China and Russia, both globally and through multilateral frameworks should consult and on important maritime issues coordinate their views, have wide ranging discussions on the balance of power on global maritime issues so that they will be able to speak with one voice or nearly so.  Over the short term, the two countries could discuss cooperation in the following areas:

  • Increasing Russian oil deliveries to China by land including improving or building pipelines in order reduce the risk China faces from maritime oil deliveries
  • Strengthen China’s maritime transport capacity in the north by developing ports on the Tumen River and sea routes through the Japan Sea and the Arctic Ocean;
  • Carry out with Russia defensive joint exercises in the Pacific, northern Indian Ocean and Mediterranean as a deterrent against non-specific threats.

3.1.3 Strengthen Cooperation with the Countries Along Sea Passages


Countries along sea passages are the strategic resource points for the US and at the same time are on the front line for China’s maritime defensive struggles. In the Asia-Pacific region, China should take advantage of its economic strength and its central position, strengthen its cooperation with Japan and India, and look for common interests in maritime transportation, maritime security and other areas.  Through the ASEAN 10 plus six and other multilateral mechanisms, increase its trade and economic cooperation with Japan, India, Australia and ASEAN countries.  Work to build support for a new Asia-Pacific security concept, to create a new China-centered East Asian industrial order, and then through dialogue to reduce security anxieties, persuade these countries to maintain their strategic independence, and guard against them slipping into the strategic orbit of the US.

In the Indian Ocean region, China should actively participate in regional cooperative activities.  Under frameworks such as ASEAN, the Arab League and the African Union, strengthen economic and trade, technology and anti-terror cooperation with Sri Lanka, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and East African countries along China’s maritime trade routes.  China should strengthen its military cooperation with Pakistan and Iran and seek access to the Indian Ocean through countries such as Pakistan and Myanmar.  Through bilateral and regional cooperation, use land bridges to get into the Indian Ocean region, look for locations which can be strategic support points.  The Indian Ocean is important to China’s ocean strategy and part of China’s system for ensuring maritime security.

3.1.4 Actively Participate in and make use of Existing International Organizations

 International law, international mechanisms, and international organizations are important means for civilized countries to protect their interests in time of peace.  They form the legal basis for sovereign states to make peaceful use of sea lanes. As an independent sovereign state, China has the fundamental right to peacefully use maritime passages to develop its exchanges with foreign states.  In this peaceful age in which war cannot be the first option, China needs to learn how to use international civil law to protect its interests, use the rights that it enjoys under international law, and make international law a strong weapon in maritime power struggles.  China should work through the UN Security Council to create a mechanism through which interest countries could fight piracy and ensure security of maritime passages.  China should make full use of current international mechanisms such as the “Right of Innocent Passage” and the “Right of Passage Through Straits and Archipelagoes” in order to expand the prevailing norms for international travel through passages.  China should expand its cooperation with and actively participate in the work of the International Maritime Organization and the International Hydrographic Organization on matters including maritime security, ship security and port security. China should take the lead in enacting national legislation on maritime safety matters and crisis handling  processes, achieve a position in which its voice can be heard, and promote a just and reasonable international maritime security order and system.

Protect Maritime Security Through Deterrence

In today’s globalizing economy, “cooperation” plays an important part in reducing risks to maritime security.  However, it cannot in itself fundamentally ensure maritime security.  If Chinese shipping were to be faced with an intention on the US and its allies to harm it or blockade it, the only way to ensure maritime security would be a strong Chinese naval force and deterrent capability.  Today, China’s navy is relatively weak and Chinese shipping along maritime passages faces severe potential dangers and threats.  Therefore China must be prepared for a long term maritime struggle.  Particularly important will be the material and psychological preparation for a naval struggle.  Accelerating the buildup of China’s naval strength,  raising China’s maritime strength across the board so that will be able to achieve the core deterrent capabilities of being able to  strike at faraway targets,  provide escort on distant seas, and provide resupply on distant seas.

Maintain China’s Deterrent Posture

 First of all, we should use economic methods to deter.  Towards medium-sized and small countries which are harassing China at sea, we could consider  cutting off economic ties, financial sanctions, or closing our markets to them as our reprisal.  Towards countries that are to some extent a strategic threat and are regional powers highly dependent upon the Chinese economy (such as Japan and India), if they are determined to cause maritime problems for China, we could consider using the methods of trade war, monetary war or mixed methods to retaliate and to punish.   The second type of response would be to use conventional military means as a deterrent.  We can use military capabilities as a preventive measure to deter a potential adversary from making a maritime attack.  Long distance cruises, long distance escorting of vessels, maritime anti-terror exercises, ship visits, naval exercises etc. maintain awareness of China’s strategic presence in the waters around maritime passages.

In international waters near potential adversaries, carry out irregular electronic information collection, mapping and surveys of the sea floor, anti-submarine exercises,  and maritime live-fire exercises etc.  Be prepared when necessary in international waters to forcibly stop, search or detain enemy merchant vessels.   The third type of deterrence is nuclear deterrence. Nuclear deterrence is tightly linked to the most important interests of the two sides involved.  Confronting the security threat of the US military alliance, China must prepare for military struggles in line with “assured mutual destruction” in mind.  It must always keep in reserve a certain number of nuclear weapons in combat duty status.  Fourth, China must be ready to fight a small-scale naval war so it must be fully psychologically prepared for war. China does not want to fight but China is not afraid to fight.  In circumstances in which the intensity, length and theater of a war could be contained, China should be willing to take some strategic risk and choose some arrogant medium or small adversary and fight a small naval war with them.  This would increase China’s credibility and create a strategic situation.

China Should Accelerate the Buildup of its Sea Power

China should master the principles of the revolution in military affairs, increase its investments, raise it technological level, accelerate naval modernization, and achieve leapfrog development in naval affairs.  This will make the Chinese navy the core of China’s strategic deterrent.  This will ensure the safety of Chinese shipping and strengthen China’s deterrence at important straits.  China needs to invest more in building up its naval power.  Spending on national defense and military technology should be oriented more towards building up naval power.  China needs to focus first on current threats and increase its overall combat capability in the waters near China.  Then, taking into account the expansion of China interests it needs to develop its capability to fight defense battles in distant seas and so accelerate investment in creating the capacity to deploy and escort in distant seas.  China needs to change its naval strategy, accelerating the change in the Chinese navy from “littoral defense and littoral combat” to “defense in distant seas and control of distant seas”.

China should quickly build a long-distance deployable aircraft carrier combat group, build up its ability to long distance navigation and precision attacks on far away targets.  China needs to continually increase its strategic depth at sea.  Third, China needs to devote more resources to building up its sea-based nuclear deterrent, building up a fleet of 10 – 15 strategic nuclear submarines to ensure that at least one of them will always be present in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. China needs to develop its sea-based deterrent capability to both “control the sea from the sea” and “control the land from the sea” so that both the land and sea-based assets of a potential adversary and its allies including principal cities, transportation network, foreign military bases, ships at sea and foreign allies all fall within the combat range of the Chinese navy. In this way, a potential adversary, aware of the long distance accurate strike power and awesome destructive power of the Chinese navy would be too intimidated to take chances at sea.  Fourth, China needs to promoted naval deployments that would “show off to the West” such as increasing deployments to the Indian Ocean, and to make full use of diplomatic and economic methods to establish at strategic maritime locations points for resupply and military bases so as to protect strategic maritime passages and to provide prompt and powerful logistical and military support.

Strengthen China’s Maritime Presence

With sea power as a last resort, closely coordinate political, economic and diplomatic struggle to strengthen maritime presence is how the countries of the world protect the security of their sea routes.  Maritime presence is demonstrated by regular peacetime naval exercises that demonstrate military capabilities and the determination to protect maritime security in order to achieve the goals protecting safe passage on the seas.  In the future, China should gradually increase its presence along strategic passages and nearby waters by gradually increasing such measures as maritime patrols, sea cruises, maritime escort exercises, and maritime monitoring.  This will demonstrate China’s capability and determination to keep its sea routes open in order to prevent any kind of threat to China’s maritime security from developing.  Moreover, China should also its capacity to undertake long sea voyages, improve the technology and armaments of its escort vessels and so their overall ability to ensure maritime security,  increase naval exercises far away from Chinese ports in order to strengthen the capabilities of China’s maritime security protection forces and the personnel who man them.


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Chinese Navy Recruiting Video Translated — 中国海军征兵宣传片英文翻译

Chinese PLA Navy recruiting video on Youtube.

Opening video slot – Chinese PLA Navy emblem: Navy recruiting publicity film

Our Dream

We were born in the 1990s
By then China had already risen [images of return of Hong Kong and Macao in 1997]
We have the same concerns
With bright dreams, we want to shine like the new century
For our dreams
We want to give our all
We want to grow be very strong

The Call of Duty

Seventy-one percent of this globe we depend upon is blue water
No matter which corner of the globe
Wherever there is blue water, we are there to protect the security of navigation
The ideology of the “One Belt and the One Road” [Note: President Xi Jinping’s new silk road concept for China’s economic development]
China’s oceanic and overseas interests are developing rapidly.
Our land is vast
But we will not yield a single inch of our frontiers to foreignersChina has 3 million square kilometers of ocean under its jurisdiction
Including 6700 islands with a surface area of over 500 square meters
The struggle over sea rights has not ended – we will not give up even the tiniest bit of our resources [pictures of oil rigs at sea]

The Honor Gene

Thousands of sea battles forged us
In very bloody combat
Hot blood and the smell of gunpowder
We kept working hard
We kept growing
The passionate efforts of youth
Forging in trials makes possible the breakthrough
We maintain combat readiness
We are prepared for war
What we really want is to grow together with you
Let’s all share together

Seeking the Blue Dream

We are stronger because you are stronger
Here with us, you will be able to reach your dreams
Here with us, we will let you demonstrate your extraordinary talents [sailor holding a child’s drawing “We are in the Navy too!”]
Here we us, we give you the chance to sprout wings

[Group with Chinese flags and smaller UK flags, banner written “Giving a Warm Send-Off to the Chinese Naval Expeditionary Force!”]
Here, the eyes of the entire world are open us!
This the Chinese Navy!
This is you with us – full of pride!
A strong motherland needs a strong navy
The Navy needs you.
Let’s together realize the dream of the great Chinese renaissance.

Title at end in calligraphy: Sail the four seas, brave and courageous
End title under PLA Navy emblem: We invite you to join the Chinese Navy

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