Thursday, 6 October 2011

Qiu Jin (8/11/1875 -15/7/07 ) - China's Revolutionary Poet.

Qui Jin was a radical Chinese women's rights leader and revolutionary. Born in Xiamen. Fujian Province. She was one of the first women of China who attempted to educate and mobilise and emancipate Chinese Women. She loudly said no to womens degradation, advocating for their rights in open defiance of the imperial empire. She refused to be silenced or subjegated by the power of patriarchal rule. She stood up against foot binding , it is easy to forget that  for a long time, this barbaric practice had been acceptable behaviour, she also oppossed other repressive orders. Spending time in Japan where she developed some of her ideas.
She helped found and write,a radical women's magazine called the 'Chinese Womens Journal' based in Shanghai. One of the first women who attempted to educate, mobilise and emancipate Chinese Women. Encouraging other women to resist oppression.
Standing against womens degradation, her cause was one of emancipation and freedom. She also became a martial arts expert , wouldnt you want to defend yourself, and together she joined forces with other revolutionaries to try to overthrow the corrupt Manchu Government and make war against authority. However she was betrayed and on July 12th 1907 she was arrested. Subsequently though she refused to admit any involvement or implicate and betray anyone else. 
She was beheaded on the 15th July 1907, she was only 32,  but had  become one of Chinas first revolutionary martyrs and is remembered to today for the sacrifice she made for her people.
The dynasty that she revolted against fell in 1912, with the decaration of a republic. Her legacy lives on, since after all, she introduced the idea of womens independance to China,  and beyond her actions, her memory lives on in her words.
Today on National Poetry Day  I share with you some of her poems. Full of a beguiling tranquility and mythological  elements, but it is she who has become legend. That today we must recall.

On Request for a Poem

Do not tell me women
are not the stuff of heroes,
I alone rode over the East Sea's
winds for ten thousand leagues.
My poetic thoughts ever expand,
like a sail between ocean and heaven.
I dreamed of your three islands,
all gems, all dazzling with moonlight.
I grieve to think of the bronze camels,
guardians of China, lost in thorns.
Ashamed, I have done nothing
not one victory to my name.
I simply make my war horse sweat.

Grieving over my native land
hurts my heart. So tell me:
how can I spend these days here?
A guest enjoying your spring winds?

Crimson Flooding into the River

just a short stay at the Capital
But it is already the mid autumn festival
Chrysanthemums infect the landscape
Fall is making its mark
The internal isolation has become unbearable here
All eight years of it make me long for my home
It is the bitter guile of them forcing us women into femininity
We cannot win!
Despite our ability, men hold the highest rank
But while our hearts are pure, those of men are rank
My insides are afire in anger at such an outrage
How could vile men claim to know who I am?
Heroism is borne out of this kind of torment
To think that so putrid a society can provide no camaraderie
Brings me to tears!


Riding a white dragon up to the sky,
Striding deep in the moutain on a fierce tiger.

I am born in a roaring storm with a violent dancing spirit
I shall be holy on the earth.

How could I ever be satisfied with settling down!
Without witnessing Commander Xiang win his great battles,
Or hearing Liu Xiu rumbling war drums

They were only twenty years old but could make their contries floursh.
Don't blame them for bloodshed but admire them for bravery.

Shame and failure!
I am already twenty-seven

Yet have no glory to my name
I only worry for my country and do not know how to expel these invaders.

I am glad my great ambitions will not rot and waste away,
Not when I hear the roar of war drums.

Deep inside I am outraged
I cannot get help from my own people

I feel so helpless, so weak.
It is for that reason alone that I am going
to Japan: to rally up aid to look for assistance.

Wiki entry below.


  1. I just watched a movie made about her life.
    What a revolutionary!

  2. what was the film, she was and remains so inspiring.