"Thought should be given to the black darkness of our
China; what it is like! To the hazard, danger of the road before our China,
what it is like! To the black darkness of women's realm
in our China: still more what it is like! Sad, downcast, I grieve,
moved by affection I rise, I run forward calling loudly to elder sisters,
younger sisters, companions of the womb, begging them to establish a women's
publication in China. Ah! slowly, slowly a thread of light is piercing the
black darkness of our women's realm, which shut in on all sides, for four
times one thousand years has existed until the present day.
...I would now bind twice then thousand times ten thousand
women in single indivisibility under our guidance; would at dawn and dusk
penetrate women's realm throughout the country discussing general control
in women's affairs; would provide women with dashing waves of independence
in life's course. I would now rouse women's essence, spirit, to rise as
birds in flight over fields, leaving swiftly earths dust, that they may
speedily cross the frontier into the great world of light and brilliance.
I desire that they be leaders, awakened lions, advance messengers of learning
and intelligence; that they may serve as rafts crossing cloudy ferries;
as lamps in dark chambers. That they may let shine, from the center of
women's realm in our country, bright light resplendant, glittering rare
in the beauty of its color; that on the whole earth globe, they startle
the hearts, snatch the eyes of men, causing all to applaud, rejoice.
I desire my companions of the womb, uniting to encourage
themselves enthusiastically, to expend their strength, to pray that this
magazine be established.
--from Qiu Jin's appeal for a Chinese
women's newspaper Zhongguo Nu Bao which she and Xu Zi-hua founded.
Qiu's activism included organizing for women's rights and
education and against the customs of binding girls' feet and selling women
and girls into slavery. She herself lost custody of her children because
her husband disapproved of her political action. The photo (above left) shows her defiantly dressed in male samurai garb during her political exile in Japan. Jin was involved in Sun
Yat-sen's organization of the Guomintang and in efforts to overthrow the
Manchu dynasty. Its rulers beheaded her for sedition in 1907.