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Young Debaters to Match Wits and Wisdom

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Young debaters from Shanghai Jiao Tong University presents a role play to help set forth their opinion. [Photo: Shanghai Daily]

China's sharpest students are debating major issues like the new labor law, extending the retirement age and cleaning up the environment during the televised 14th Famous Universities Debating Contest.

The Shanghai tournament, which began on Tuesday and runs through next Monday, features students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Xiamen University, the University of Hong Kong and the University of Macao.

The Shanghai Education Television Station, one of the organizers, is broadcasting the videotaped rounds nightly at 8:00 PM.

The contest can be seen live on daily through next Monday at 10:00 PM

Since it debuted in 1995, the contest, in Chinese, has focused on major economic and social issues and has raised public awareness. This year the ban on free plastic shopping bags will be one of the issues debated.

Debaters are required to demonstrate logic, persuasive arguments, fast thinking and skillful presentation. They will also present improved mini-dramas to support their case.

They will face tough questions from the moderator and members of the opposing team.

The jury includes scholars and critics from Fudan University, Shanghai Theater Academy, East China Normal University, as well as senior commentator Yang Jinlin from Hong Kong Phoenix TV Station.

"Debating contests always combine fun and thought," says Yun Youjiang, an official with Shanghai Education Television Station. "This year we encourage our debaters to add more emotion to their presentation."

Debater Li Kuangda from Xiamen University says the contest is a good chance to open his mind, make friends and learn from his rivals.

"In-depth analysis of the subject is like doing research, which helps to improve our all-round abilities," he adds.

The final will be held next Monday followed by an award ceremony to honor the Best Debating Team and the Excellent Debater.

( December 4, 2008)