China Update: China 2019 Canceled

Unfortunate update about official FIRST events in China.

This is a big deal - there were ~150 teams in China gearing up for the 2019 season. Does anyone know the requirements / text of the new law that FIRST has to comply with?

This news article gets into it without needing to reading Chinese and is a good place to start on the matter.

Wow. This is huge, and shocking.

So many people have spent much time and resources to boost up FIRST in China. The Chinese teams and organizers are very attracted to FRC due to the ethics and culture which FIRST provides.

Andy B.

I am assuming this also affects the other 3 aspects of FIRST. This would reduce the FLL teams that come to world.

I would say that link raises as many questions and doesn’t answer any.

Short version: NO.
Long version : The Chinese government wants total control over everything it’s people see and do.

These national contests should be nonprofit, and the organizers and contractors could not collect any fees such as contest fees, registration fees and lodging fees, or transfer the costs through other means.


Hearing this news earlier was very disappointing.
All of those Chinese teams will now be looking at other event options.

We plan to host workshops days for the Chinese teams that now will be attending the Hawaii regional as a result.
Hopefully other regional directors can look at the teams that will now sign up as a result of the news, and assist any way they can.

Looking forward to seeing 3 or more regionals in 2020 in China.

Thanks for the link Howard C. It sounds like the Chinese Ministry of Education wants to license school competitions to avoid scams and discrimination, which seems innocuous enough. I’m sure there’s a huge reporting burden, but otherwise FIRST should have no problem qualifying. That is, unless the stated purpose of the law, and the actual purpose of the law are different things. You can never tell these days (from any government).

Any links that don’t end in .cn?

I actually read a bit more into it than the long version… without denying that aspects of the long version are certainly there.

It would seem that the root problem has more to do with a competitive desire to enroll in the ‘best’ school… parents are seeking ways to demonstrate that their kids are the ‘best’, while schools are seeking ways to show that they are the ‘best’. There are likely many competitions that have evolved to provide these opportunities, and it would seem that not only are they detracting from studies rather than enhancing them, but that some of them may be placing profit ahead of an excellent experience for the students.

I’m sure FIRST has simply been swept up in a much larger clean-up and control process and will be back on track once the appropriate clearances have been obtained.

I’m not an expert on the topic by any means… I’m merely interpreting one news article and one announcement based in the context of having had some experience teaching and working with international students.

In the interim, we do have space at the Canadian Pacific Regional, and would be delighted to have more international representation.


I do not want to veer too much off-topic, but would this not also affect RECF events in China?

It seems at least part of it is that teams cannot be charged for competing, so if a qualifying event (be it VRC, VEX IQ, FRC, or FLL) can run without directly charging teams, there will be no issue with it.

I interpreted this as any portion of events, from Home regionals in China, to events outside, to even Worlds, had to be free for teams within China.

Theoretically, they could hit up 2-4 regional’s (depending on travel) and do worlds without any payment to FIRST, assuming this interpretation is correct.

I think they’d have a hard time enforcing the limits on events outside of China, but this is all brand new news to me so I’m sure there’s much more to be understood about this process.

That said, some districts have established finance processes that don’t end in “send a check to New Hampshire”. Of all the roadblocks that could stop FIRST’s growth in China (and I don’t doubt there are several), I am confident that the registration fee element is not one of them.

I’m asking this question specifically because the VRC Chinese National Championship payment is due this weekend.

“When China sends us their robots, they’re not sending us their best… they’re sending kitbots, toasters, and some of them, I assume, are mentor built.”

“We have the best competitions, don’t we folks?”

I bet that less than half of the teams will actually make their way abroad to compete this year based on some prior discussions I have had with Chinese representatives. Sad to hear but I am hopeful this is just a bump in a very long road… In the meantime, 987 is also ready to host our friends from China again.:smiley:

Do you say this as someone who is familiar with this issue or as someone who is making a conclusion based on reading the linked articles?

Not trying to give you a hard time - your answer is very definitive, which seems to be a difficult position to take without inside knowledge.

Nah you’re right, the wording is more absolute than it should be. That’s just my understanding of the situation from what I’ve read.

So, districts in China next year?
Approved partners in China run local organization…