Public debate

Based on the success of LSE's Chinese debates in 2008 the London Universities Chinese Debate Tournament (第一届伦敦大学校华) was launch in November 2008. The Debate Tournament started on 18th November and ended on 4th February 2009.

At the opening of the first Chinese Debate Tournament on 18th November 2008 Dr Xiangqun Chang, Coordinator of China in Comparative Perspective Network (CCPN) at LSE was invited to be the judge. She gave high marks to the students' initiative and offered to support it with the CCPN as an online platform. After several debates the winning team was the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Rules and topics

Participant teams

  • Imperial College London
  • King's College London
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • Queen Mary
  • School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • University College London

Significance

According to one of organisers from Imperial College "the public debate provides a platform for Chinese students in London: it is not only a showcase where their talent and oratorical skills can be performed, but also an opportunity to promote and carry forward debate about art and Chinese culture". "It is also a success of networking amongst Chinese students in London", added Zhang Qiaoyu, Imperial College, and confirmed by Hu Jun of LES, at a dinner party after one of the debates.

Challenges to future debates

The final debate of the Chinese Debate Tournament was on the 4th February at LSE Old Theatre, a place where different kinds of public debates are usually held.

Two weeks before the final debate the stage of the Old Theatre was occupied by a group of students for a few days starting on 15th January (the full correspondence between the Director and the group which recently occupied the Old Theatre is now available online at: http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/meetthedirector/pdf/occupation-correspondence.pdf ).

According to Aled Dilwyn Fisher, General Secretary of the Students' Union, and Janet Hartley, Pro Director (Teaching & Learning), the LSE encourages open debate in which tolerance and respect for all views are maintained. Last term LSE and the Students' Union supported two successful joint public events - the 'Coexistence Trust on Jewish-Muslim Relations and Political Engagement' and 'What now? Israel-Palestine on Campus', and will continue to promote such events.

Few Chinese students have participated in or even heard about public debates amongst students at LSE. For future debates there are some new challenges for Chinese students at LSE and London:

  • How could we invent new topics which are more related to cultural diversification and globalization?
  • How could we exercise our debating talents and skills to engage with non-Chinese students amongst the academic community for the public good?

See more from the links below

Many thanks to Wang Hang, SOAS, for providing us all the rules and information, and translating the debate topics. 

 

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