8 Best VPNs for China in 2024

Nancy Tyson  - Tech Writer
Last updated: July 17, 2024
Read time: 24 minutes Human Written

China has high interent censorship and most of the social media sites are blocked there. So, use a China VPN to bypas these restrictions. Continue reading to determine which VPN is suitable for you.

Radar Rundown
  • The Great Firewall of China blocks many websites and internet resources.

  • A reliable and trustworthy VPN can help you bypass these restrictions.

  • A VPN will also protect your internet connections. NordVPN is the #1 VPN for China.


The Chinese Ministry of Public Security introduced the famous Great Firewall in 1998 to control the flow of information on the internet within the country. Today, the system has evolved into one of the world’s most sophisticated surveillance and censorship systems. It filters internet content and blocks access to online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix in China.

Bypassing China’s Great Firewall requires a robust VPN with advanced privacy and security features. Even some best VPNs today don’t stand a chance against the firewall’s sophisticated filters. After testing 58 free and paid VPNs, we have compiled a list of the best VPNs for China to bypass restrictions and enjoy online freedom.

A quick list of the best VPNs in China


The best VPN in China. It uses proprietary Nordlynx protocol and obfuscated servers to beat censorship in China.


This modern VPN with high-end security and privacy features to bypass internet filters in China.

Surfshark VPN

A budget-friendly option that has a stealth mode setting to bypass the toughest internet censorship.


A reliable VPN with fast connection speeds and powerful unblocking abilities within China.

Private Interent Access

It has the largest server network in the world and offers customizable encryption and top-notch privacy features.


A feature-rich VPN with one of the industry’s best and most reliable free VPN plans.

Hotspot shield
Hotspot Shield

A lightweight VPN that uses a proprietary Hydra protocol to bypass internet censorship in China.


Has premium and an unlimited free version with servers in Japan to help you bypass restrictions.

How do I access VPNs in China?


If you plan to travel to China, you should know that some web applications are blocked, and most popular VPNs are banned. For this reason, it would be best to download a robust VPN on your device and set it up before landing in China. Once you land, you can connect to a server outside China and browse anonymously.

Follow these steps to use a VPN in China securely.

  1. Download and install a VPN with servers near China. We recommend NordVPN for its impeccable security, privacy and performance.
  2. Log in to your VPN application and connect to an obfuscated server near China.
  3. Unblock any website and regain your online freedom.

Also, remember to change your tunnelling protocol since the firewall blocks OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP.

Best China VPNs comparison

Best China VPNs comparison
BrandAverage speedSecurity featuresLoggingServer locations in countriesUnblocking capabilitiesAnonymous paymentsPrice
NordVPN353 MbpsAES-256 encryption, Threat Protection, kill switch, Double VPN, obfuscation and RAM-only serversstrict No-logs policy independently audited by Deloitte and PwC111 countriesNetflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $3.09/month with a 2-year plan
ExtremeVPN350 Mbps256-bit Encryption, Kill switch, DNS Leak protectionStrict no-logs policy78+ countriesNetflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and moreDoes not accept cryptoFrom $3.29/mon with a 1-year plan
Surfshark326 MbpsAES-256 encryption, obfuscation, multi-hop, kill switch, antivirus, RAM-only servers, strict No-logs policy, independently audited by Deloitte100 countriesNetflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $2.29/month with a 2-year plan
ExpressVPN389 MbpsAES-256 encryption, leak protection, obfuscation, ad blocker, RAM-only servers, No-logs, independently audited by PwC105 countriesNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $6.67/month with a 1-year plan
Private Internet Access (PIA)366MbpsKill switch, Customizable encryption, Split tunnelling, Wireguard/OpenVPNNo-logs policy audited by Deloitte91+ countriesNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreAccepts CryptocurrencyFrom $2.03/mon with a 3-year plan
Windscribe208 MbpsFree version, Port forwarding, split tunneling, browser extensionsNo-logs policy is audited69 CountriesNetflix, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+Accepts cryptoFrom $5.75/mon
Hotspot Shield201 MbpsAES-256 encryption, split-tunnelling, kill switch, speed testLogs IP address85+ countriesNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+No cryptoFrom $7.99/mon
Proton VPN210 MbpsAES-256 encryption, kill switch, NetShieldNo-logs, independently audited by Security91 countriesNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+Accepts cryptoFrom $4.99/mon

8 Best VPNs to use in China – Detailed list

8 Best VPNs for China

Premium VPNs


After rigorous tests, NordVPN emerged as the overall winner for its excellent performance in China and an impressive array of features. One reason for its excellent performance in China is its massive network of 6,300+ servers in 111 countries. This includes servers in countries neighbouring China, like Mongolia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, which is essential for reducing latency and improving speed.

How to watch free movies with NordVPN

In addition, the VPN encrypts your traffic with the uncrackable AES-256 algorithm to ensure your traffic is completely unreadable. It also has many additional features, like no-logs policy, but the most notable are two kill switches, Threat Protection, Onion over VPN, and Double VPN.

NordVPN has special obfuscated servers that help you beat censorship by disguising VPN traffic to appear like regular HTTPS traffic.

NordVPN is quite affordable, going for as low as $3.09/month in a 2-year plan. All its pricing plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free. It also has a 7-day trial for Android devices, after which you must purchase a subscription to continue enjoying its services.


ExtremeVPN is one of the most reliable VPN services of 2024. It is modern and well-stacked, with top-notch privacy and security features to get you past China’s Great Firewall without detection. The provider has a network of 6,500 servers in 78 countries, of which 658 are in Asia. This means you can enjoy ultra-fast connections in China by connecting to any of the nearby ExtremeVPN servers. 


The VPN maintains a strict no-logs policy and has IPv6 and DNS leak protection to safeguard your identity. Also, ExtremeVPN protects your data in transit using the military-grade AES-256 encryption protocol and has an automatic kill switch. Additionally, the VPN has split tunnelling and port forwarding features that allow you to connect to remote devices without firewall interruptions.

During ExtremeVPN tests, we successfully unblocked Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and other streaming platforms. The video load time was less than 3 seconds, and the stream quality was buffer-free. We also unblocked various social media platforms, news outlets, and websites, including Facebook, Google, and NBC. The VPN retained 82% of the original internet speed, sufficient for most data-intensive activities.

ExtremeVPN has three pricing plans: monthly, six-month, and annual. The best deal is the annual package, which costs $3.29 per month and is billed as $39.48 every year. The provider has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test the service risk-free. ExtremeVPN accepts payments via PayPal and prepaid cards only.


Surfshark is another commendable option to bypass China’s Great Firewall and access your favourite online content. It is popular for its affordability and blazing-fast connection speeds, with a network of 3200+ servers in 100 countries, including Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Macau.


The VPN also has top-notch security and privacy features to help you bypass censorship and unblock geo-restrictions in China. It implements an independently audited no-logs policy and uses RAM-only servers to ensure any data stored is deleted after every session. The VPN also has many extra features, including stealth VPN (Camouflage mode), which makes your VPN traffic appear like regular internet traffic. Other extra features include split tunnelling and an ad blocker.

Our tests allowed us to download torrents and watch movies from various streaming platforms when connected to Surfshark servers in Macau, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Similarly, we could unblock Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, and other blocked websites in China. Surprisingly, the VPN retained 86% of the original internet speed using the WireGuard tunnelling protocol, which is pretty fast.

Surfshark is ideal for budget-conscious users, with prices as low as $2.29/month on the 2-year plan. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it for 30 days and request a refund if unsatisfied. Android, iOS, and MacOS users can get a 7-day free trial, after which they have to subscribe to continue enjoying the service. The VPN accepts payment through cryptocurrencies like Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin to help users pay anonymously.


ExpressVPN is equipped with all the necessary privacy and security tools to bypass the great firewall of China. The provider doesn’t disclose the actual number of servers in its network, but they are all distributed in 105 countries. Some ExpressVPN servers are in countries neighbouring China like Taiwan and Hong Kong.


The VPN has leak protection features that safeguard you against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. In addition, it uses an AES-256 encryption algorithm to protect your data against interception and eavesdropping

ExpressVPN’s strong kill switch feature prevents your real identity from leaking by disconnecting your device from the internet when the VPN connection is unstable. The VPN maintains an audited no-logs policy and uses RAM-only servers to safeguard your privacy.

This powerful streaming VPN can unblock HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix from China when connected to its servers in Hong Kong or Taiwan. Also, during our tests, it successfully unblocked all social media sites, news portals, and other platforms blocked in China. The VPN uses its proprietary Lightway tunnelling protocol, which is able to retain 77% of the original internet speed.

ExpressVPN is a bit expensive, with the cheapest package costing $6.67/month with a one-year subscription. However, you can take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee and try it risk-free. The provider accepts payment via prepaid card, but you can use Bitcoin to pay anonymously.

Private Internet Access

PIA is among the best VPNs in China for its high-end security features that make it impossible for the Chinese authorities to spy on your traffic. Some of its services are in Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong to help you optimize your connection speeds and reduce latency when connecting from China.

Despite falling under the US jurisdiction, PIA maintains a strict no-logs policy that independent auditors have audited. It also uses RAM-only servers to delete any stored data to ensure privacy.

Private Internet Access

The VPN protects your identity with customizable encryption features and an automatic kill switch. It also has an ad blocker, split tunnelling, and obfuscation features that convert the VPN traffic into regular HTTPS to avoid detection.

PIA refreshes its server IPs very often to maintain your anonymity. We ran our tests 10+ times and always got a different IP address. This enabled us to easily unblock streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime when connected to servers in neighbouring countries using OpenVPN protocol

Additionally, you can unblock blocked websites like Facebook and YouTube and regain your online freedom. PIA has decent speeds in China and retained 75% of the original speed during our tests, which is enough for fast browsing.

The VPN has some of the industry’s cheapest and most flexible pricing plans. You can pay $12/month, $40/annually, or $79/three years. Also, you can take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee and use it for free, then ask for a refund in 30 days if unsatisfied. The provider accepts payment via Amazon Pay, PayPal, Credit Card, and various cryptocurrencies.

Free VPNs

Free VPNs


Windscribe is a feature-packed VPN with one of the best free plans on the market today. Its decent server network spans 69 countries and 134 cities in Asia, America, Europe, and Africa. In China, you can connect to Windscribe servers in Japan, Malaysia, or Hong Kong to bypass censorship and unblock anything you want.

Unfortunately, the VPN’s free version comes with some limitations. It has a data cap of 10 GB per month, more than most free VPNs offer. Also, it only allows you to access servers in 11 countries. Luckily, Hong Kong is among those 11 countries, so you have a nearby location to get high-speed connections when unblocking content.


The VPN has industry-standard security and privacy features to support anonymous browsing. It encrypts your traffic with the AES-256 algorithm and uses OpenVPN and WireGuard protocol for transmission. It also has an automatic kill switch, split tunneling feature, and supports port forwarding. The VPN is based in a 14 Eyes alliance member country but maintains a no-logs privacy policy to safeguard your identity.

Windscribe has decent connection speed and consistent unblocking abilities to help you beat censorship in China. During our tests, we could access all major streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. It is also ideal for heavy browsing and unblocking websites like YouTube and Facebook in China.

Windscribe’s premium version is a bit pricey compared to other premium VPNs, with the cheapest package going for an annual subscription of $5.75/month. The VPN charges an extra fee for additional features like a static IP address. It also allows you to build a monthly custom plan for $1 per server location. Unfortunately, the VPN only allows users three days to request a refund, which may take up to 30 days.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is another quality VPN with a decent free version for users in China. The free version allows you to connect to servers in the UK, Singapore, and the US only and has 500 MB daily data caps and 2Mbps speed limits. We recommend using Singaporean servers to optimize your connection speeds. 

Hotspot Shield

The VPN provides anonymous browsing in China and high levels of obfuscation using its proprietary Hydra VPN protocol. It also uses the gold-standard AES-256 encryption protocol and has perfect forward secrecy and DNS leak protection. 

Unfortunately, the provider logs your IP addresses but does not record your browsing activities in any way that can compromise your privacy. Other features include split tunnelling, a built-in speed test and a kill switch to disconnect your device from the internet if the VPN connection fails.

Thanks to its Hydra protocol, Hotspot Shield is really fast and lightweight. During our tests in China, most sites loaded almost instantly, while videos took less than 3 seconds to load fully. We could unblock Google, YouTube, Twitter, and other blocked websites without trouble.

The Hotspot Shield paid version has a 7-day trial, after which you have to choose a subscription to continue enjoying the premium experience. It has monthly and annual subscription packages that cost $12.99/month and $7.99/month respectively. Hotspot Shield has a 45-day money-back guarantee so you can test the premium version risk-free. The VPN accepts payments via PayPal and prepaid cards.

Proton VPN

Proton VPN is highly rated for its excellent security, privacy, and performance. Its network has 4,400 servers in 91 countries, including some in Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong. 


The VPN is well-stacked with anti-censorship tools that can help you bypass filters implemented by the Great Firewall of China. It uses the  AES-256 algorithm to encrypt user traffic and has a reliable kill switch that disconnects your device from the internet if the VPN malfunctions. Additionally, it is based in a privacy-friendly country (Switzerland) and maintains a strict no-logs policy to ensure your identity remains anonymous.

Proton VPN can unblock all major streaming platforms from China and has stable download speeds that guarantee a lag-free high-definition stream. During our tests, the VPN retained 85% of the original speed, which is above average. We also unblocked websites like YouTube and Facebook without trouble when connected to Proton VPN servers in Japan and Hong Kong.

The VPN has competitive prices starting from $4.99/month. It also has a free version that allows you to connect to several servers worldwide, including those in the Netherlands, Japan, the US, Poland, and Romania. The limitations in the free versions make it unreliable to use in China, but you can still try it. 

The premium version has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it without worrying about losing money. It also accepts Bitcoin payments to hide your identity.

How we tested VPNs for China

How we tested VPNs for China

Our tests for the best VPNs in China were based on various security, privacy, and performance factors. We only selected the VPNs that provided the best results and proved they could bypass the toughest filters and censorships implemented by China’s Great Firewall. Here’s how we conducted our tests.

  1. VPN selection: The first step was to identify a list of the most reputable VPNs today based on security features and regional server availability. To ensure optimum speeds, we only selected VPNs with servers near China.
  2. In-house testing: We installed the selected VPNs on various devices and operating systems. Then continuously monitored their performance for several days.
  3. Performance analysis: This is where we rigorously tested the VPN performance and ability to unblock streaming platforms and blocked websites. We also tested all the important security and privacy features to ensure our top list consists of the most secure and private services. We checked and analyzed the functionality of key features like log policies, obfuscated servers, encryption, leak protection, tunnelling protocols, and kill switches.
  4. Ranking: We then used the data from our analysis to compare all the VPNs and ranked them accordingly. The best VPNs for China perfectly combine performance, security, and privacy.

Why do you need a VPN in China?

Why do you need a VPN in China?

The main goal of using a VPN in China is to protect your privacy. A VPN protects you against government surveillance and helps you to unblock blocked websites and streaming platforms. It encrypts your traffic and masks your identity, making it impossible for the government authorities to monitor your online activities.

When using a VPN, your ISP, surveillance agencies, and other third parties cannot see what you do online because traffic is unreadable. They can also not associate an IP address with your device because your real IP address is hidden.

The Chinese firewall is highly sophisticated, so using a VPN with obfuscated servers is a good idea. The obfuscated servers regularise your encrypted VPN traffic to appear like normal HTTPS, which makes it impossible to detect and filter. This way, you can bypass even the toughest filters and remain anonymous.

Free vs. paid VPNs

Free vs. paid VPNs

People in China can use a free or premium VPN to bypass censorship. However, the free options are limited to handle the China Great Firewall’s sophistication level. Only a handful of free VPNs work in China and are unreliable sometimes.

Unlike Premium VPNs, free VPNs have limited features and capabilities. Some only allow you access to selected servers, while others have data caps that limit what you can do with your connections. Others have very low-speed limits, making them unsuitable for streaming and gaming. 

You should also be cautious with free VPNs because some collect personal data and sell it to brokers. Another category of free VPNs is outrightly dangerous and exposes you to malware in the name of protection. If you have to choose a free VPN in China, first analyze its privacy policy to ensure it does not collect user data, then ensure it has high-performance obfuscated servers near China. The best free VPNs in China include Proton VPN, Windscribe, and Hotspot Shield.

On the other hand, premium VPNs are the ultimate online privacy services. They come with unlimited advanced privacy and security tools capable of bypassing even the most sophisticated filters. However, not all premium VPNs work in China, so you should only choose those with a perfect combination of security, privacy, and performance. We recommend NordVPN to users in China for its resilience and unblocking abilities.

Overall, premium VPNs are better than free VPNs. Instead of using free VPNs, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee policy most premium VPNs offer and ask for a refund before the expiry of 30 days. Some premium VPNs also have free versions that have unlimited features. 

Who are free VPNs for?

Who are free VPNs for?

Free VPNs are mostly for users who cannot afford premium VPNs. You can also use them for light browsing when you are not transmitting large volumes of data or do not need fast connections. However, the limitations of free VPNs make them unsuitable for data-intensive activities like streaming and gaming.

Additionally, you should only use free VPNs when transmitting non-sensitive data. The data they collect can be traced back to you. 

VPNs to avoid

VPNs to avoid

While VPNs are important privacy and security tools, not all live up to the hype and expectations. Some VPNs compromise your privacy by collecting and storing your personal data and selling it to third-party data brokers. Others contain malware, while others constantly send you annoying adverts. You should always avoid VPNs that collect or store your information for marketing purposes. 

Here is a list of some of the VPNs you should avoid.

  • HolaVPN: Hola was accused of stealing user bandwidth and reselling it through its sister company, Luminati. In such a situation, you could be involved in activities done by other users.
  • Hide My Ass (HMA VPN): HMA has a troubled history of turning customer data to authorities, so you should avoid it.
  • IvacyVPN: Ivacy is accused of falsifying its VPN server locations, while other people believe Ivacy and PureVPN are under the same company. They also have a controversial refund policy limited to 500MB and 30 sessions.
  • PureVPN: PureVPN claims to have a zero-logs policy but was accused of handling customer data to the FBI in the past.

Are VPNs illegal in China?

Is VPN illegal in China?

VPNs are not illegal in China but are heavily controlled. The government only allows VPNs that meet certain regulations. Authorities block all the domains and IP addresses of providers who do not comply with these regulations, making downloading and installing them a hassle.

However, all VPNs that comply with Chinese surveillance requirements can operate freely, and you can use them to unblock websites and bypass geo-restrictions. The firewall mostly blocks IP addresses associated with unauthorized VPNs, so choosing a VPN with a large server network is wise.

It is important to note that selling or promoting VPNs is illegal in China. This is because the government only allows the approved providers to operate. You should also be cautious with the government-approved VPNs in China because they offer zero privacy. 

What can you do with a VPN in China?


The main reason for using a VPN in China is to beat censorship and filters implemented by the great firewall of China. However, this might not be the only reason for using a VPN in China. Below are a few other things you could do with a VPN in China.

  • Stream geo-restricted content: Most streaming platforms categorize their content geographically. You can use a VPN to spoof your location and unblock various libraries.
  • Beat ISP throttling: Internet service providers may intentionally reduce your internet speed, especially during peak hours. You can stop this with a VPN.
  • Connect to a public Wi-Fi: If you are travelling, you can comfortably use public Wi-Fi when connected to a VPN and browse securely.
  • Find better shopping deals: The prices of products and services may vary depending on geographical location. You can use a VPN to spoof your location and get the best deals.
  • Browse anonymously: A VPN masks your identity and prevents third-party users from tracking your online activities.

Social media and streaming platforms blocked in China

Social media and streaming platforms blocked in China

The Great Firewall of China blocks many websites and streaming platforms. Here are some of the most popular platforms currently inaccessible in China.

  • Wikipedia
  • YouTube
  • Google
  • TikTok
  • X (Formerly Twitter)
  • Facebook

Apart from the above list, the firewall also blocks ChatGPT, HBO, Vimeo, Roblox, Zoom, OneDrive, Dropbox, The Washington Post, BBC News, Reuters, The Bloomberg, The New York Times, Skype, Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram. 

The list goes on, but all the blocked platforms have one thing in common – they contain information the Chinese government wants to hide.

Troubleshooting VPN problems in China

Troubleshooting VPN problems in China

Using a VPN in China can sometimes be challenging. China’s great firewall identifies VPN traffic and blocks all its IP addresses. However, the firewall does not cause all VPN connection issues, so you should ensure your VPN is properly configured.

Use the following tips to troubleshoot VPN problems in China.

  • Switch to a different server. The IP address of the server you are currently connected to may already be blocked, so you should try another server.
  • Change the tunnelling protocol. The great firewall of China actively blocks all traffic transmitted over OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2PT. Switching to a different protocol might solve the issue.
  • Reboot. If the problem is unresolved, try restarting the VPN application and connecting to a different server.
  • Contact support. Try contacting the customer support team for guidance on the best servers to use in China, and if you are unsuccessful, switch to a more reliable VPN.

Things to remember before travelling to China


As you know China has various online regulations enacted to protect its residents. First, you should acquire a non-Chinese VPN with servers nearby to help bypass some restrictions that could deny you internet freedom. You could even subscribe to a few VPNs because some might not work completely or temporarily in China. 

Use the following tips to stay safe when visiting China.

  • Always use a VPN: Encrypt all your internet connections with a VPN at all times and connect to nearby servers for optimal connectivity.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi: Connecting to public networks is insecure, and you can encounter a cyberattack or lose sensitive information.
  • Avoid local apps: Most local Chinese apps are owned or controlled by the government. We strongly advise against installing them on your device because they collect personal data and share it with the authorities.
  • Use a password manager: Download and install a reputable password manager to protect your credentials. Enable multi-factor authentication where applicable to minimize the chances of a security breach.


Most popular VPNs do not have physical servers in China, but you can consider using their servers in neighbouring countries like Hong Kong and Macau. NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN are some VPNs with servers in these regions.

Yes, TikTok is banned in China, and people use a local alternative called Douyin. TikTok and Douyin are owned by the same company – ByteDance. However, TikTok does not comply with the strict censorship regulations required by the Chinese authorities.

You could try two VPN alternatives in China – Proxies and Tor. Proxies only reroute your traffic to a remote server without encryption, so they cannot match the security and privacy of a VPN. On the other hand, Tor encrypts your encryption multiple times, but it is slow and has vulnerabilities. Additionally, Tor cannot help you with gaming, torrenting or streaming.

Breaking laws related to VPNs can attract punishments that range from fines to prison time for Chinese Citizens. There is no information on visitors or tourists getting prosecutors for using VPNs in China.

Always choose the closest server to lower the latency and achieve the highest speeds. The best VPNs in China have servers in countries neighbouring China, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.

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About the Author

Nancy Tyson

Nancy Tyson

Tech Writer
5 Posts

Nancy has been working as a Cybersecurity writer for over three years and contributes her expertise in the VPN area. Due to the technology element in Nancy’s education, she has acquired the ability to assess the online security environment objectively and explain concepts in simple terms to the readers of articles in the field. Besides using her time to learn about new VPN services, Nancy likes cooking, reading a good book, and often going to parties.

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