“Don’t tell me women are not the stuff of heroes” Qiu Jin
Qiu Jin was born into a noble family in 1875. Initially she had dreams of being a poet however, when she was twenty one she obeyed her father and entered into an arranged marriage.
She was miserable in her marriage. She described him as an animal who made her skin crawl. Her marriage became the basis for her opinions on feminism. In 1903 she left her husband and went to Japan. While she was there she became involved with the underground movement to over throw the oppressive Qing Dynasty. She moved back to Bejing to start a women’s journal. In the journal she spoke about the importance of education, why foot binding is bad (which she was a victim of) and that women should be allowed to marry whomever they want.
She became extremely active and vocal in the fight against the Qing Dynasty, encouraging her fellow women to join the cause. In 1907 she was appointed as the head of an all girls school. However, the school was a front for training revolutionaries. When she was informed that her cousin was killed in an uprising she was warned that the government
would be coming for her. But she didn’t budge. She stayed in her roll as the head of the school. She was arrested and tortured by government. She refused to confess or give them any information. They found the evidence that they were looking for and beheaded her.
For some Qiu Jin style inspiration check out these books:
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan A story of a long lasting friendship.
- Imperial Woman The story of the last empress of the Qing Dynasty
- The Good Women of China Deng Xiaoping started a radio call in show in China collecting women’s stories. This book is the collection of those stories of civil strife and the struggles that face Chinese women.