A Woman to Know: Qui Jin

Don't tell me women are not the stuff of heroes. — Qiu Jin

(image via Wikimedia Commons)

A revolutionary feminist and a proud political leader — but most beautifully, a poet who memorialized women from Chinese history in verse. As a woman living in 19th century China, Qiu Jin knew her poetry was in itself a political force. She founded her own journal to publish feminist writing, and her poems encouraged women throughout China to join her fight for independence. Qiu Jin would ultimately be denounced as a traitor and executed in her home village in 1907; but after her death, more of her writing was found and published, including poems and essays exploring the role of women in traditional Chinese life. Today, she's remembered as a national heroine, the "Woman Knight of Mirror Lake."

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