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I am struggling with the following issue: I have an XML string that contains the following tag and I want to convert this, using cElementTree, to a valid XML document:


but each # sign is preceded by a & sign and hence the output looks like: ��������������

This is a unicode string and the encoding is UTF-8. I want to discard these numeric character references because they are not legal XML in a valid XML document (see Parser error using Perl XML::DOM module, "reference to invalid character number")

I have tried different regular expression to match these numeric character references. For example, I have tried the following (Python) regex:

RE_NUMERIC_CHARACTER = re.compile('&#[\d{1,5}]+;')

This does work in regular python session but as soon as I use the same regex in my code then it doesn't work, presumably because those numeric characters have been interpreted (and are shown as boxes or question marks).

I have also tried the unescape function from but that does not work either.

Thus: how can I match, using a regular expression in Python, these numeric character references and create a valid XML document?

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