Qiu Jin (1875-1907) was a female writer, activist and revolutionary who was executed by the Qing regime in July 1907. Born in Fujian province, Qiu married young and had two children before becoming involved in anti-Qing groups like the Guangfuhui and Tongmenghui. Qiu was chiefly concerned with improving the rights and conditions of Chinese women. She believed this could only be achieved after the implementation of a Western-style constitutional government. A prolific writer and an eloquent public speaker, Qiu regularly attacked the political legitimacy of Qing leaders and the dynasty’s barbarous treatment of women, in particular the continuation of practices like foot binding and concubinage. Qiu ended up managing a girls’ school while providing training for anti-Qing militia groups. In 1907 she was betrayed by informers, interrogated and tortured, then publicly beheaded by Qing authorities. Qiu became a martyr and a cause célèbre for republican and communist revolutionaries, as well as Chinese women’s rights campaigners.
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