Biography in English

Chang Hsueh-liang 張學良 T. Han-ch'ing 漢卿

Chang Hsueh-liang (1898-), known as the Young Marshal, was the son of Chang Tso-lin (q.v.), from whom he inherited control of Manchuria in 1928. In 1936, Chang Hsueh-liang detained Chiang Kai-shek at Sian in an attempt to persuade the National Government to form a united front with the Chinese Communists against Japan. Chang was imprisoned and later was granted amnesty. However, he remained under Chiang's surveillance even after the government moved to Taiwan.

Born in Haich'eng, Liaoning, Chang Hsueh-liang was the eldest son of Chang Tso-lin. Chang Hsueh-liang was prepared for a military career, and after graduation from the Fengtien Military Academy he began service in his father's army at the age of 19. In 1919 he was promoted to the rank of colonel and was made commander of his father's bodyguard. The next year he became aide-de-camp to Hsu Shih-ch'ang (q.v.), a former governor general of Manchuria who held the presidency at Peking.

At the time of the Anhwei-Chihli war of 1920, Chang was given command of the 3rd Mixed Brigade of the Fengtien forces, which participated in sporadic fighting in north China. In November 1920 the Peking government promoted him to brigadier general. In 1921 Chang Hsueh-liang went to Japan to observe the Japanese military maneuvers in the autumn. On his return he proposed reforms in the Fengtien Army, and his recommendations were followed. Chang played an active role in the first Fengtien-Chihli war of 1922, and at the end of that conflict he was made commander of the Fengtien Second Army and, concurrently, director of the Fengtien Military Academy.

During the second Fengtien-Chihli war in 1924, Chang commanded the Fengtien First Army and distinguished himself in the fighting at the Great Wall. After the victory of the Fengtien forces, Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.) returned to a position of authority in Peking as chief executive. In 1925 Tuan designated the youthful Chang Hsueh-liang to assist in the rehabilitation of political affairs in the lower Yangtze region, and Chang reached Shanghai in mid-June at the head of 2,000 Fengtien troops for the nominal purpose of maintaining peace following the May Thirtieth Incident, when British policemen had fired on Chinese. Chang's movement, however, violated the truce agreement of February 1925 that had ended the Kiangsu-Chekiang war, and Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.) embarked upon countermeasures. Chang Hsueh-liang withdrew to Peking, where he became director of the Peking War College. He remained in nominal command of one of the Fengtien armies, although actual field command was exercised by his favorite officer, Kuo Sung-ling (q.v.).

Kuo Sung-ling, in concert with Feng Yühsiang (q.v.), led a revolt against Chang Tso-lin's power in November and December 1925. That revolt failed, but it came dangerously close to toppling Chang Tso-lin's authority. The Old Marshal was furious with his son and apparently was only dissuaded from having him executed by the entreaties of veteran associates, including Chang Tso-hsiang. Though Chang Hsueh-liang did continue to exercise command responsibilities, he nevertheless remained in semi-disgrace in his father's eyes. In the spring of 1926, Chang Hsueh-liang was assigned to command the Third Army in the military operations undertaken by the combined forces of Chang Tso-lin and Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.) against Feng Yü-hsiang's Kuominchün. When the northern generals organized the Ankuochün [national pacification army] in December 1926 to confront the forces of the National Revolutionary Army moving up from south China, Chang Tso-lin became its commander in chief. Chang Hsueh-liang was given command of some of the Ankuochün troops, and he served in the field against the Nationalists after the launching of the final stage of the Northern Expedition in April 1928.

After the defeat of the Ankuochün and the violent death of his father on 4 June 1928, Chang Hsueh-liang's career took a major turn. Still with the armies in Chihli, he was at first unaware of his father's death, which was kept secret for over two weeks. After the defeat of the Shantung-Chihli forces commanded by Chang Tsung-ch'ang (q.v.) and Ch'u Yu-p'u and after their retreat toward Shanhaikuan in the wake of the Fengtien troops, Chang Hsueh-liang and Yang Yü-t'ing met at Luanchow to discuss the situation. It was decided that Chang should go to Mukden and that Yang should remain inside the Great Wall to supervise the withdrawal of the Manchurian forces. Chang arrived in Mukden on 17 June 1928; the death of Chang Tso-lin was announced on 21 June. The Northeastern leaders were faced with the necessity of choosing a successor to exercise the regional power that the Old Marshal had held in Manchuria. The leading candidates were Chang Tso-hsiang and Yang Yü-t'ing (q.v.). Chang Tso-hsiang was then the governor of Kirin province; Yang Yü-t'ing had been Chang Tso-lin's chief of staff. Chang Hsueh-liang at first urged Chang Tso-hsiang to become commander in chief of the Manchurian forces. Chang Tso-hsiang refused and pledged his personal support to Chang Hsueh-liang. On 4 July 1928, Chang Hsueh-liang assumed the post of commander in chief of the Northeast Peace Preservation Forces and the concurrent post of chancellor of Northeastern University at Mukden. The rule of the Young Marshal had begun. However, he generally was viewed as an ineffectual young man who was addicted to drugs.

All the Manchurian forces in north China had been withdrawn into the Northeast by mid-July of 1 928. Chang Hsueh-liang's position in Manchuria, however, still was precarious. When he succeeded to power, at a time when it was still not known that the Japanese had been responsible for his father's murder, Chang was confronted at once with the problems of determining Manchuria's future relationship with Japan and with the new National Government of China at Nanking. At the same time, he had to counter the moves of possible rivals for power in the area.

The Japanese consul general at Mukden, Hayashi Hisajiro, played an important role in the initial Japanese contacts with Chang Hsueh-liang in the summer of 1928. At the end of June, the Young Marshal, after conferences with his advisers, decided to follow a policy of friendship toward Japan. However, public sentiment favored agreement between Mukden and the victorious Nationalists; and the Kuomintang authorities at Nanking sent emissaries to Manchuria to work out a political accord. Chang Hsueh-liang negotiated with Nanking's representatives on the basis of conditions which would have left him in power in Manchuria as head of a Northeastern political council and would have incorporated Jehol province into his domain in exchange for his public declaration of allegiance to the new National Government. Agreement on that basis was said to have been reached, and the Nationalist flag was scheduled to be raised over Manchuria on 22 July 1928.

On 19 July, however, Nanking informed the Japanese government that its 1896 and 1903 treaties had expired and that Chinese law and regulations would thereafter govern Japanese subjects residing in China. The Japanese rejected that demarche. At Mukden, Hayashi warned Chang Hsueh-liang against the projected alignment with Nanking, and shortly afterwards Premier Tanaka elaborated on the warning. Through Baron Hayashi Gonsuke, who visited Manchuria ostensibly to attend the funeral of Chang Tso-lin as Tanaka's personal representative, Tanaka sent a message indicating that Japan opposed the union of Manchuria and China proper, and that Japan would provide Chang Hsueh-liang with advisers and other assistance if he would devote himself to the development of Manchuria—that is, if he would maintain Manchuria's autonomy. Baron Hayashi delivered the message on 6 August 1928.

At a conference in Mukden four days later it was decided that the negotiations with Nanking, which had been suspended in late July, should not be resumed for a period of three months. Chang Hsueh-liang nevertheless sent a delegation in mid-August to Nanking and Shanghai for further talks with the Nationalists.

In early October 1928, Premier Tanaka learned definitely that elements of the Japanese Kwantung Army had been responsible for the death of Chang Tso-lin. By that time Chang Hsueh-liang presumably had developed strong suspicions about the affair. Although he had not acknowledged the legitimacy of the National Government when it was formally inaugurated at Nanking on 10 October 1928, Nanking appointed him a member of the State Council and chairman of the Northeast Political Council. Also, Jehol province was allocated formally to the jurisdiction of Mukden.

On 29 December 1928, Chang Hsueh-liang pledged the allegiance of Manchuria to the National Government and raised the Nationalist flag at Mukden. On 20 December, Nanking confirmed all senior officials of Chang's regional government. The Japanese government issued a new warning, but took no other action. The Japanese apparently had thought of attempting to exercise control over Chang Hsueh-liang through Yang Yü-t'ing. Yang on several occasions had acted in evident contempt of the authority of Chang Hsueh-liang, whom he viewed as a political upstart and a weakling, and had conducted negotiations without Chang's foreknowledge. Chang, however, had learned the lesson of the Kuo Sung-ling rebellion against his father and was aware of the political penalties that could accompany excessive trustfulness. He invited Yang Yü-t'ing and his close associate Ch'ang Yin-huai, director of railways in the Northeast, to a banquet on 10 January 1929 at which he had them shot. Chang Hsueh-liang's personal control over Manchuria thus was established. Through Chang, the authority of the National Government of China was extended to Manchuria, and Nanking designated Chang commander in chief of the Northeastern Border Defense Army.

In the years that followed, the Young Marshal was much influenced by an Australian adviser, William H. Donald, who became associated with Chang in December 1928. Another influential adviser was V. K. Wellington Koo (Ku Wei-chün, q.v.), who had been close to the Old Marshal. Koo arrived in Mukden in 1929 and entered the Young Marshal's service. Chang Hsueh-liang, like his father before him, also made use of the services of a number of Japanese advisers. In most cases it is impossible to distinguish between the advisers' influence and Chang's own judgments with respect to policy, but there can be no doubt of the importance of his staff of advisers. Chang Tso-lin in 1926 and 1927 had undertaken anti-Soviet actions in Manchuria and Peking. The Nationalists in December of 1927 had broken off Sino-Soviet relations in the territory under their control. In 1929, Nanking and Mukden consorted in new moves against the Soviet position in Manchuria. That operation began in May with a police raid on the Soviet consulate general at Harbin and with the arrest of several Chinese found there. On 10 July the Northeastern authorities seized the Chinese Eastern Railway and ousted Soviet citizens from their administrative posts. The Soviet government at once demanded restoration of the status quo ante and began a series of threatening moves. When the Chinese authorities continued to procrastinate—and retained control of the railway—Soviet armed forces went into action in mid-November. Nanking then suggested to Chang Hsueh-liang that he seek peace. The resulting Khabarovsk Protocol of 22 December provided for restoration of the status quo ante.

That situation probably influenced Chang's behavior with respect to the National Government's next predicament. For some time, an involved political contest had been developing in north China between Yen Hsi-shan and Feng Yü-hsiang on one side and Chiang Kai-shek on the other. As the struggle developed, the Yen- Feng side secured the military support of Li Tsung-jen (q.v.) and the political support of Wang Ching-wei. By June 1930 the matter had reached a critical stage. Since Chang Hsueh-liang held the key to the situation, both sides sued for his support. Nanking sent a political delegation to attempt to enlist his aid and on 21 June named him deputy commander in chief of the military forces of China. Chang Hsueh-liang, however, refused to commit himself or to take up Nanking's appointment. In August 1930 the north China rebels included Chang Hsueh-liang among the officials of their proposed new government. Chang publicly denied that he had encouraged formation of that government and stated that his name had been used without authorization. As the military struggle developed, it became evident that the situation could only be saved for the north China combination through the Young Marshal's intervention on its behalf. Since the tide of battle was running strongly against the rebels by that time, Chang remained aloof, and the coalition collapsed.

On 18 September 1930, Chang Hsueh-liang attempted to capitalize on his politically discreet conduct by issuing a public message calling for the cessation of all military operations. He at once moved some 100,000 of his own troops from the Northeast into the Tientsin-Peiping area, without incident and seemingly by prior arrangement with the local generals of north China. He then proceeded to remove the provincial capital of Hopei from Peiping to Tientsin and to take control of the northern sections of the Peiping-Hankow and the Tientsin-Pukow railroads. While restoring the nominal authority of the National Government over the Tientsin customs, he actually arranged that the customs surplus be paid to him. If Chang Hsueh-liang had refrained from helping to install at Peiping a challenger to Nanking, it appeared that he had successfully excluded Nanking's power from that region.

The Northeastern Border Defense Army under Chang Hsueh-liang numbered over 400,000 men. In September 1930 the National Government, with due regard for political realities, again appointed Chang deputy commander in chief of the national armed forces of China. On 9 October, in an impressive ceremony—held, significantly, at Mukden Chang Hsueh-liang assumed his new post. Chang appeared at the fourth plenary session of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang, which was held in Nanking in November 1930. Although not a member, he was "especially" invited to participate in the meeting. The area of agreement between Chang and Chiang Kai-shek was further enlarged, and Chang became a member of the Central Political Council of the Kuomintang. He reciprocated by helping to suppress a revolt against Nanking's authority led by Shih Yu-san on the southern fringe of Chang's north China domain. Disregarding Tokyo's early warnings and ignoring the underlying significance of the Soviet Union's military intervention of 1929, Chang Hsueh-liang, buttressed by Nanking, continued his father's war of attrition against the Japanese position in Manchuria. In mid- January 1929 the Japanese had taken up with Chang the problem of implementing a railway agreement reached with Chang Tso-lin in May 1928. When Chang Hsueh-liang referred the matter to Nanking, Chiang Kai-shek instructed him to disregard the Japanese railway proposals. Chang then adopted as his regular tactic, when approached by the Japanese regarding outstanding issues, the excuse that he had to refer the problem to Nanking; and Nanking, as regularly, when the Japanese endeavored to take up those issues in the capital, responded by saying that the Japanese would have to arrange matters locally first. At the same time, the Chinese pushed forward with a project for the construction, by a Dutch company, of a new port at Hulutao in southern Manchuria to rival the Japanese-controlled port of Dairen. And a campaign was launched in Manchuria for the recovery of the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway.

The responsible Chinese authorities followed similar tactics of shifting responsibility and procrastination in the so-called Nakamura case, which involved the execution as spies of a Japanese staff officer and three companions by the Chinese military authorities in June 1931. The killings, which were kept secret for a time, were followed by the Wanpaoshan Incident
which gave rise to an anti-Chinese movement in Korea. The Chinese then launched a boycott of Japanese goods. The Japanese government finally made a public issue of the Nakamura case in August 1931 and showed evidence of extracting maximum political gains from it. Chang Hsueh-liang for some time was distracted from problems of state by the demands of his social life at Peiping, where he was known as one of the more active members of the international set. One of his most intimate companions at the time was the Countess Edda Ciano, daughter of Benito Mussolini and wife of the Italian minister to China. Chang, after his life of pleasure at Peiping and at the north China seaside resort of Peitaiho was interrupted by a bout of typhoid fever, suddenly recovered and finally recognized the grave consequences of further temporizing in face of the threat posed by the Japanese Kwantung Army. He instructed the Liaoning provincial authorities to conduct a new investigation of the Nakamura case and sent a Japanese adviser to Tokyo to assure the Japanese government authorities that he desired an amicable settlement of the affair.

The National Government at Nanking announced on 14 September that it intended to appeal the Nakamura case to the League of Nations, and on the following day it charged that Japan was responsible for the Wanpaoshan Incident and for all subsequent developments in the relations between China and Japan. Nanking's brash pronouncements only complicated the situation, and the activist staff officers of the Kwantung Army advanced their plans for a coup in Manchuria. On 18 September 1931, the Kwantung Army began the occupation of Manchuria with the Mukden Incident. At the time a large contingent of Chang Hsueh-liang's Northeast Border Defense Army was stationed in north China, while other units were at Chinchow, near the Great Wall. Yet, a large number of the Young Marshal's Manchurian troops were in Manchuria, in position to resist the numerically inferior Japanese forces. Chinese strategy in the situation was determined by Nanking, however, not by local commanders. Chang was instructed by Chiang Kai-shek to follow a plan of non-resistance and withdrawal before the advancing Japanese forces, and Chiang announced that China had entrusted its case to the League of Nations. Thus, the Chinese defense of Manchuria was little more than a token effort. Some of the Northeastern units were shattered ; others surrendered to the Japanese; a few retreated into Soviet territory; and the remainder withdrew into north China. General Honjo, the commander of the Kwantung Army, who knew Chang Hsueh-liang personally, had the contents of Chang's Mukden residence carefully crated and shipped to Peiping at Japanese expense. Chang Hsueh-liang emerged from the Manchurian disaster with his reputation badly damaged, and Nanking's propaganda machinery did nothing to remove the blame from his shoulders. He lost his position as deputy commander in chief of the Chinese armed forces in November 1931, and in December he was removed from the State Council. He was assigned to be peace preservation commander in north China and was made a member of the North China Political Council, however. The Young Marshal's position deteriorated further after the establishment of the Japanese-sponsored state of Manchoukuo in March 1932. On 15 August, Nanking accepted Chang's resignation from the peace preservation post in north China and assigned him to new positions at Peiping. These could hardly compensate the Young Marshal for the loss of his homeland; and they did nothing to restore his position in Chinese political and military life. In fact, when the Japanese invaded Jehol in February 1933 and pressed on toward Inner Mongolia, Chang Hsueh-liang was the chief target of public criticism despite the fact that the National Government authorities at Nanking had sent neither troops nor planes to help stop the Japanese. Under heavy pressure, Chang handed over control of his remaining troops to Chiang Kai-shek at Paoting in March 1933. Chang then was appointed to membership on the executive committee of the Central Military Academy, a position designed to keep him at Nanking under the eye of Chiang Kai-shek. The Young Marshal, however, opted for another course frequently taken by defeated Chinese leaders — the trip abroad. Since 1926 Chang had been addicted to drugs: first to opium, then to a morphine derivative, Pavemal. Under strong pressure from W. H. Donald, he finally entered a Shanghai hospital, where he was cured. In April 1933, accompanied by a not inconsiderable personal entourage, he sailed from China for Europe aboard the Italian liner Conti Rossi. The party was composed of Chang's wife, a secretary known as Miss Chao, four children, W. H. Donald, Chang's American adviser James Elder, and a group of personal nurses and servants. Chang spent several months in Europe, where he found much of interest in both Italy and Germany. When he returned to China in January 1934, he was much improved in health and was strongly nationalistic in outlook.

Chiang Kai-shek still adhered to the view that the consolidation of effective control over China must be accomplished before China could resist foreign invaders. He therefore was pressing the military campaigns against the Communists that he had begun in 1930. In February 1934, Chang Hsueh-liang was assigned as deputy commander in chief of anti- Communist operations in Honan, Hupeh, and Anhwei, with headquarters at Hankow. In December, W. H. Donald, who had served Chang for six years, left his service to join the personal staff of Chiang Kai-shek. In May 1 935, Tokyo presented Nanking with a set of farreaching demands regarding north China, and Chiang Kai-shek again capitulated to the Japanese. One consequence of his action was that the Northeastern troops formerly under the Young Marshal's command were moved from north China to northwest China. Chang was then made deputy commander in chief of operations against the Communists in the northwest, with his headquarters at Sian. There he was subordinate to Chiang Ting-wen (q.v.), a trusted associate of Chiang Kai-shek. In campaigning against the Communist forces in Shensi in the autumn of 1935, Chang's forces lost two divisions. The Manchurian troops clearly had little desire to fight other Chinese while their home region remained under Japanese occupation. In June 1936, Chang met with the Communist leader Chou En-lai, who apparently convinced him of the practicability of the Communist proposals for a united front against the Japanese. The two sides reached a secret arrangement, and military action, tacitly held in abeyance since the spring of 1936, was effectively halted. Regular liaison was established, with the assignment in August of a so-called unofficial Communist representative to Chang's staff. The Chinese Communists and Chang agreed to give prior notification to each other of any moves; and by their joint efforts a network of branches of the National Salvation League was organized in northwest China.

Chang Hsueh-liang's deviation from Chiang Kai-shek's policy did not go unnoticed in Nanking, but it is evident that Chiang was not aware of the full extent of Chang's commitment to the united front. Chiang still planned to annihilate the Communist forces in the northwest through a new military campaign, making use of Northeastern troops. That maneuver would weaken both the Communists and the unreliable Northeastern faction, while Chiang Kai-shek's position would be strengthened. Chiang visited Sian at the end of October 1936, as the Japanese were thrusting into Suiyuan, to discuss the impending campaign. Chang Hsueh-liang on that occasion argued for the cessation of the civil war and for the formation of a united front against Japan. Chiang brusquely rejected his views and returned to his field headquarters at Loyang. A later visit by Chang Hsueh-liang to Loyang brought him only a harsh reprimand. Chiang Kai-shek returned to Sian on 4 December 1936 and announced that the general offensive against the Communists would begin on 12 December. Chang Hsueh-liang and his colleague Yang Hu-ch'eng (q.v.), the pacification commissioner of Shensi province, endeavored again to argue the matter, but without avail. In fact, it appears that Chiang Kai-shek announced that Chiang Ting-wen would exercise supreme command in the campaign and that the so-called rebellious units of the Northeastern forces would be transferred to south China for reorganization. After Chang, Yang, and the Northeastern commanders conferred, on 12 December 1936 the rebels arrested Chiang Kai-shek and confronted him with eight demands. The chief purport of the demands was that the civil war with the Communists should be terminated in favor of a national united front against the Japanese and that the National Government at Nanking should be reorganized. On 14 December an announcement from Sian stated that a United Anti-Japanese Army—composed of the Northeastern, northwestern, and Communist forces—had been formed. Some of the rebels argued that Chiang Kai-shek should be shot. Chang Hsueh-liang acted as a moderating influence and attempted to negotiate with Chiang for acceptance of the rebel program. The negotiations assumed a new form on 15 December with the arrival at Sian of a Chinese Communist delegation, headed by Chou En-lai, Yeh Chien-ying, and Ch'in Pang-hsien, which was armed with the information that Moscow favored the preservation of Chiang Kai-shek as the national leader of China. From the Nanking side, W. H. Donald flew into Sian on 14 December. T. V. Soong arrived on 20 December, and Madame Chiang Kai-shek arrived two days later. In the end Chiang accepted the essential points of the rebel demands—though he did not put his acceptance in writing — and he was released on Christmas Day 1936. The Young Marshal quixotically accompanied his erstwhile prisoner back to Nanking. The party boarded the plane and flew first to Loyang, where Chiang Kai-shek issued a face-saving telegram of admonition to Yang Hu-ch'eng and to the man then in his company, Chang Hsueh-liang.

At Nanking, Chang Hsueh-liang was tried by a military court. On 31 December 1936 he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and the loss of civil rights. He was granted amnesty on 4 January 1937, with the proviso that he be turned over to the National Military Council for "stringent supervision." The chairman of that body was Chiang Kai-shek. In March 1937 a delegation of representatives of the Northeastern armies saw Chang Hsueh-liang at Ch'ik'ou, Chiang Kai-shek's native village in Chekiang, and met with T. V. Soong, Ho Ying-ch'in, Ch'en Ch'eng, and Chiang himself in an attempt to gain the Young Marshal's freedom. The attempt was unsuccessful. After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war, Chang Hsueh-liang was removed in advance of the Japanese invaders to Anhwei, Kiangsi, Hunan, and finally Kweichow, where he was detained for the remainder of the war period. After the Japanese surrender, there was speculation in China that the Young Marshal might be released to be employed in connection with the Nationalist attempt to consolidate control over Manchuria. No such development occurred. When Li Tsung-jen became acting President of China in January 1949, one of his first official acts was to order the release of Chang Hsueh-liang.

By that time, however, the Young Marshal already had been moved to Taiwan, where he remained in detention. He first resided near Hsinchu, but later was moved to Keelung. About 1956 he was moved to the hot-springs resort of Peitou, some eight miles from Taipei. During his long captivity Chang reportedly made a special study of the history of the Ming period. Few people visited him, although Mo Te-hui (q.v.), the veteran Manchurian political leader, occasionally called on him. Chang Hsueh-liang also became a Christian and attended church services in a small chapel near Taipei. On 1 September 1961 an official statement from Taiwan announced that the Young Marshal, who was described as living in retirement in the suburbs of Taipei, had been given his freedom. At the same time he received a visit from his eldest daughter, Chang Min-ying, and her husband, Dr. T'ao P'eng-fei, who had arrived in Taiwan from the United States. It was evident, however, that the Young Marshal was still not free to leave Taiwan and that he remained under the surveillance of Chiang Kai-shek. It was also apparent that he was not free to release a full and independent version of the critical political developments of the pre-1937 period in China in which he had played a major role. Chang Hsueh-liang's first wife, Yü Feng-chih, and their children resided in the United States during Chang's years of imprisonment. His constant companion, who remained with him throughout his detention, was Miss Chao. She bore him one son, Chang Lü. On 4 July 1964 Chang and Miss Chao were married in Taiwan in a Christian ceremony performed by an American missionary. The wedding was attended by Chang Ch'ün and a dozen other guests. Yü Feng-chih, who then resided in southern California, stated that she was so moved by Miss Chao's devotion to Chang Hsueh-liang that she had released Chang from their marriage bonds.

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