Qiu Jin: Poet, Teacher, Revolutionary


“The old traditions are extremely shameful: Women treated as if they were no different from cattle! The light of dawn now brings the tide of civilization. We’ll take the lead in independence. Let’s eradicate our slavery, become proficient in knowledge and learning. We’ll shoulder that responsibility. We women heroes of our nation will never betray its trust!” – from “A Fighting Song for Women’s Rights” by Qiu Jin.

Qiu Jin was nationalist, anti-Qing and anti-Manchu, and pro-women’s liberation. She did not mince her words when speaking about the failure of the Qing government, the oppression of women in China, and her discontent with foreign dominance in China. She was executed for her attempt to overthrow the Qing Dynasty, and she’s since attained hero status in Chinese history. How do her challenges of gender roles, advocacy for women’s rights, and criticism of government resonate when it comes to revolutionary efforts today?