Qiu Jin (1875-1907) is a legendary Chinese woman born into a prominent family in Fujian province. She had access to quality education when she was young, a privilege unavailable to most women at that time. In 1903, she divorced her husband and went to Japan to engage in revolutionary activities. She then joined in Tongmenghui, a secret society founded by Sun Yat-sen. In the meantime, she also founded Zhongguo nübao, the first journal devoted to women studies in China. In 1907, as a result of the failure of Anqing Uprising, she was executed in Shaoxing city.
This paper chronicles Qiu Jin’s pioneering role in the history of Chinese feminism, her feminist writings and public speeches in particular. Based on a close textual analysis of Stones of the Jingwei Bird, it further examines the feminine dystopia exposed by and the ideal envisioned by Qiu Jin. Besides, it tries to offer a comparative analysis of her feminist thoughts and those espoused by Liang Qichao and He-Yin Zhen so as to investigate the very origin of Chinese feminism.
This paper enriches the existing knowledge about Chinese feminism, traces the feminist tradition in China, and reexamines its role in the history of feminism. Given the under-studied status of Chinese feminism, this paper shall fill this lacuna in the global history of feminism.