Qiu Jin - Chinese feminist and revolutionary martyr
Qiu Jin, also called “Jianhu Nüxia” (Woman Knight of Mirror Lake”), was a Chinese writer, poet and strong-willed feminist who is considered a national hero in China.
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 (köpman/handlare), 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 husband could not understand Qiu’s ‘restlessness’, and was frustrated by her insistence to promote feminism and reforms, something he called the affair’s of men.’ Qiu was so disappointed in him that she once sought a divorce although she couldn’t because there was no such thing in China back then. 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.
In 1903, Qiu Jin moved with her husband to Beijing where he had purchased an official post. In Beijing, Qiu started reading feminist writings and became interested in women’s education. Qiu Jin finally left her husband in the same year, leaving to study in Japan. She became vocal in her support for women’s rights, pressed for improved access to education for women in her journals and speech, and spoke out against the practice of foot-binding. Returning to China in 1905, she joined the Triads, an underground society who advocated for the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, and other anti-Qing societies both Chinese and Japanese.
In 1906 Qiu founded her own journal, “Zhongguo nubao” (Chinese women’s journal), which featured nationalist and feminist writings. Unlike traditional and other nationalist views that held women’s place as mothers and educators in a traditional family role, Qiu Jin saw the traditional family as oppressive to women.
Qiu was appointed head of the Datong school in the city of Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, in 1907. The school was supposedly for sport teachers, but was actually used for the military training of revolutionaries. In the final years of her life, she frequently cross-dressed, wearing western-style men’s clothing, and practiced military drills and training with her students. She became well-known as a chivalrous woman for helping the poor and weak.
At this time, Qiu was working with her cousin Xu Xilin to unite and train fellow revolutionaries who also believed that China needed a western-style government. On July 6, 1907, Xu was caught and tortured for information before an uprising they had scheduled in Anqing in Angui Province. He was executed the next day.
Qiu Jin learned about her cousin’s death and the failed uprising a few days later. She was warned that officials would be coming for her at the Datong school, but she stayed anyway, writing to her sword sister Xu Yunhua that she was determined to die for the cause. On July 13, Qiu was arrested. Even after being tortured she refused to talk about her involvement in the scheduled uprising, but incriminating evidence was found at the school. On July 15, 1907, Qiu Jin was beheaded publicly in her home village of Shanyin, at the age of 31.
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KällhänvisningRebecka Ericson [2019-10-09] Qiu Jin - Chinese feminist and revolutionary martyr
Mimers Brunn [Online]. https://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=60559 [2020-07-14]
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