The National High School Debate League of China was founded in 2011 by two American education entrepreneurs who had the dream of bringing English-language debate to China. Tapping into a desire for experiential learning in Chinese schools, the NHSDLC quickly grew into the largest debate league in the country. We organize 40 debate tournaments across China every year, with nearly 5,000 students competing annually.
The NHSDLC is a truly nationwide debate community, with a presence in roughly 35 Chinese cities. At the culmination of every school year, we invite the top students from each regional tournament to compete at our National Championships.
The NHSDLC is dedicated to promoting critical thinking, creativity, self-expression, and awareness of global issues in Mainland China.
The NHSDLC strives to make English-language debate accessible to every Chinese student. We provide free, in-person debate training sessions to all interested schools in China, online training materials for students who wish to improve their abilities, and resources for teachers who wish to build debate into their curricula.
Participation at NHSDLC tournaments is open to all ESL high school students, and middle school students of all backgrounds, in Mainland China. Our students come from a range of social and economic backgrounds—but they tend to be among the most academically gifted students in their region. Roughly eighty-percent of our students pursue undergraduate or graduate studies abroad. Many of our students are enrolled in international programs at public schools, which prepare students for studying at Western universities.
The NHSDLC conducts debates in the Public Forum style, one of the most popular debate formats in the United States. In a Public Forum round, two teams, each composed of two debaters, argue for opposite sides of a resolution. The resolution is announced weeks in advance of each tournament, allowing students to conduct comprehensive research about the relevant issues. At a tournament, students will debate both sides of the resolution several times. This format encourages the development of academic research, critical thinking, and public speaking skills.
Our resolutions cover a breadth of international public policy questions. In recent tournaments, students have debated about climate change, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the effects of urbanization in China
To judge debate rounds, the NHSDLC recruits English speakers from a variety of academic and business backgrounds in China. For the National Championships, we fly over expert university judges from the debate organizations at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Penn, McGill, UChicago, and other North American Universities.