Historical Figures

Qiú Jǐn, feminist and revolutionary poet

Qiú Jǐn (1875 – 1907) is a Chinese poet, known for her feminist and revolutionary commitments and considered a major heroine in China.

Women of China

Daughter of officials from the city of Shaoxing (east China), Qiú Jǐn was born on November 8, 1875. Little is known of her life until her marriage, 1896, and her arrival in Beijing to follow her husband. There, she comes into contact with new ideas and begins to show independence. After the Boxer Movement, to express her disapproval of the treatment of women in the Qing Dynasty, she dressed as a Western man and practiced martial arts.

In 1904, leaving her two children behind, Qiú Jǐn went to study in Japan and joined several groups advocating the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. With a cousin, she works to unite these secret movements. On her return to China in 1905, she published the journal Women of China (Zhongguo nubao ), advocating in particular for women to acquire their financial independence through studies and work. She encourages them to resist family and government oppression and speaks out against customary practices such as binding feet.

Director of Datong School

A feminist poet, Qiú Jǐn is also an excellent speaker and speaks out in favor of women's rights, from the freedom to marry to access to education. In 1907, back in Shaoxing, she became director of the Datong School, officially a school for sports education and unofficially a training ground for revolutionaries. From Shaoxing, she tries to organize a coup but the plot is discovered and Qiú Jǐn is arrested on July 12, 1907. Under torture, she does not admit anything, but evidence is discovered and she is sentenced to death. Qiú Jǐn was executed on July 15, 1907.

A monument is erected in his memory in the city of Hangzhou, in the east of the country. In China, Qiú Jǐn is a symbolic icon especially of the struggle for women's rights.