Qiu Jin, Chinese feminist & revolutionary martyr – Amazing Women In History

Qiu Jin (1875–1907) was a Chinese writer & poet, a strong-willed feminist who is considered a national hero in China. Also called “Jianhu Nüxia” (Woman Knight of Mirror Lake”), she was executed after participating in a failed uprising against the Qing Dynasty.

Qiu Jin was born in 1875 to a family of the gentry, and received an excellent education as was typical for a young woman of her position. She always loved to write, and in this period of her life she wrote many joyful poems on subjects ranging from flowers and the four seasons to visiting historical places and domestic activities. She also wrote about female heroes and warriors from Chinese history, in inspiring poems about their strength, courage, and beauty. One of her poems begins “Don’t tell me women / are not the stuff of heroes”. Her poetry reflected her self-confidence and desire to become an excellent female writer as valued by traditional Chinese culture.

When Qiu Jin was 19, she obeyed her father and married the son of a wealthy merchant, against her own wishes. Qiu became extremely unhappy in her marriage. She wrote of her husband, “That person’s behavior is worse than an animal’s….He treats me as less than nothing.” and “When I think of him my hair bristles with anger, it’s absolutely unbearable.” Her previous self-confidence was shaken and her dreams of becoming a recognized poet were abandoned. Her poetry from this period of her life was full of self-doubt and loneliness.

Boxer Rebellion Soldiers

Boxer Soldiers, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

During this period Qiu also began writing poetry about current events and the fate of China. After hearing of events such as the Boxer Rebellion and occupation of Beijing, she used her poetry, with literary allusion to heroines of the past, to express her concern about the fate of China and Chinese women. Qiu longed to serve her country but realized that wasn’t possible as long as she was trapped in a conventional married life. Her marriage was an important catalyst in her development as a feminist and revolutionary…

via Qiu Jin, Chinese feminist & revolutionary martyr – Amazing Women In History.

2 thoughts on “Qiu Jin, Chinese feminist & revolutionary martyr – Amazing Women In History

  1. I’d never heard of her either so it was fascinating to read the article. By coincidence, I sold a poster of Mrs Pankhurst yesterday. It was a public domain image that I restored. I gave it a green and purple border as in the suffragette colours – of course!

    Like

  2. A really inspirational story of an early feminist and revolutionary. Despite her fame, I had never heard of her, but it is nice to see her honoured with a statue. She was taking women’s’ suffrage protest to the next level, at around the same time that Emilline Pankhurst and others were protesting about their rights in the UK.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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