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 and the largest foreign language debate league in the world. We organize more than 50 debate tournaments across China every year, with tens of thousands of students competing annually.
The NHSDLC is a truly nationwide debate community, with tournaments in 35 Chinese cities. At the culmination of every school year, we invite the top students from each regional tournament to compete at our National Championship. Every province in Mainland China was represented at the 2017 Nationals, which drew over 500 students in total. Watch our recap of the tournament here.
The NHSDLC is dedicated to promoting critical thinking, creativity, self-expression, and awareness of global issues in Mainland China.
The NHSDLC strives to make debate accessible to every Chinese student, regardless of their socio-economic background. We provide free 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 all tend to be among the most academically gifted students in their region. Over eighty-percent of our students pursue undergraduate or graduate studies abroad. Many of them are enrolled in the international programs at their 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 the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the merits of a universal basic income, and the effects of urbanization in China.
To judge debate rounds, the NHSDLC recruits English speakers from a variety of academic and business backgrounds. For the National Championship, we fly over expert university judges from the debate organizations at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Penn, McGill, and UChicago.