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Our researchers have been hard at work, and we are finally happy to announce that our first Public Forum Sourcebook for the 2019-20 topic (Resolved: The European Union should join the Belt and Road Initiative) is finally complete. Inside, you’ll find five handy topic analyses and debating guides, and over 125 pages of solid evidence and analysis to support clear, real-world argumentation. Throughout, you’ll find strategy notes and tips to help you deploy and counter arguments with ease. You can purchase a copy for $20, or an annual subscription for $140. Want to find out a little more about the Sourcebook? We’ve got you covered!

Sourcebook Topic Analyses

  1. First Glance: Definitions and Background
  2. Debating Human Rights and Framing
  3. Debating BRI Collapse and EU Involvement
  4. Debating International Relations
  5. Adapting to the Three-Minute Summary

Evidence Clash-Points

  1. BRI Collapse
  2. Climate Change
  3. Economics and Recessions
  4. Human Rights
  5. International Relations

An Excerpt from “Debating Human Rights and Framing” by Joshua Arnold, M.P.P.

“From a human rights perspective, the Negative side of the resolution has a sizeable advantage. To explain, let’s establish some historical context. In 1948, the UN passed the UN Declaration on Human Rights. This was a remarkable accident of history. It was remarkable because it obtained buy-in from all major systems of thought—not just Western ones. Even Chinese thought was represented. It was an accident of history because only the recent memory of the Holocaust and other WWII atrocities could compel the countries of the world to reach such far-reaching agreement, but it also slipped months before the beginning of the Cold War. The Declaration was not binding, but it set a precedent that has led to the inclusion of rights language in many later international treaties that are binding—even on China.

Fast forward a few decades for the next piece of historical context. The World Trade Organization enabled unprecedented levels of global free trade that gave an immense advantage to the developed economies that comprised it. Developing economies jealously sought entry. However, one sticking point for many was that membership required substantial human rights requirements. China wanted entry but didn’t have the human rights record to match. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it appeared the triumph of democracy was inevitable, so the WTO bent the rules on human rights for China, expecting that China’s human rights situation would gradually improve over time. Membership has been a great boon for China’s economy, but they have regularly violated WTO requirements regarding trade barriers, unfair competition, intellectual property rights, currency manipulation, and human rights.

China’s human rights situation has dramatically worsened since Xi Jinping came to power. It seems that something worse is happening every few months. Western liberal democracies have already made so many economic concessions to China with little improvement in human rights; they are largely unwilling to further reward China increasingly bad behavior with more economic cooperation (unless, of course, it gives them an economic benefit). Most experts don’t think that more economic cooperation with China right now will improve their human rights situation…”

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