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Ch'iu Chin

Ch'iu Chin 秋瑾 (T. 璿卿, 競雄 H. 鑑湖女俠), 1879?-1907, July 15, woman martyr of the revolution, came from a family of Shanyin (Shaohsing), Chekiang. Her father evidently was a lawyer-secretary who served under local officials in various provinces, which accounts for the fact that Ch'iu Chin was born in Fukien and also spent a number of years in Hunan. It was while in the latter province that, at nineteen sui, she married Wang T'ing-chün 王廷鈞 (d. 1908) of Hsiang-t'an, and later gave birth to a son and a daughter. When her husband purchased an official post in Peking, the family moved to the capital where she came to know the celebrated woman calligrapher, W u Chih-ying 吳芝瑛 (T. 紫瑛 H. 萬柳夫人, d. 1933), whose husband, Lien Ch'üan 廉泉 (T. 惠卿 H. 南湖, d. 1931), was an official in Peking. During the Boxer Uprising (1900) Ch'iu Chin and her family escaped with their lives. Keenly conscious of the pitiful condition of China, she determined to fit herself to serve her country. In 1904 she left her husband and children and went to study in Japan. Through her friend, Chiang (Kiang) K'ang-hu 江伉虎 (original ming 紹銓, b. 1883), she came to know Dr. and Mrs. Hattori Unokichi (see under Wu Ju-lun) with whom she travelled to Japan. She lived most of the time in Tokyo where she witnessed the celebrations of the victories of Japan over Russia. Like other compatriots in Japan she blamed the Manchu regime for the weakness of China and believed that the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty was necessary to China's salvation. She joined the revolutionaries and herself became one of the leaders of the revolutionary movement. She changed her name to Ching-hsiung 競雄 and gave herself the hao, Chien-hu nü-hsia as recorded above.

Ch'iu Chin is reported to have returned to China in 1905 and, through the introduction of T'ao Ch'êng-chang 陶成章 (T. 煥卿, d. 1911) came to know the leaders of the revolutionary society known as Kuang-fu hui 光復會 among them Hsü<> Hsi-lin 徐錫麟 (T. 伯蓀, 1873-1907). [170]She and Hsü<> were cousins and possibly had known each other before this time. At any rate, she joined the Kuang-fu society and became an active member of it. She returned to Japan in 1905 where T'ao, Hsü, and others gathered at one time or another for secret activities. At this time there were two other important Chinese revolutionary organizations in Tokyo, namely, the Hsing-chung hui 興中會, headed by Sun wên (see under T'an Ssŭ-t'ung), and the Hua-hsing hui 華興會, headed by Huang Hsing 黃興 (T. 克強 1873-1916). Many members of these and other organizations united in 1905 to form the Chung-kuo T'ungmeng hui 中國同盟會 (later known as Kuomin tang 國民黨) which Ch'iu Chin was one of the first to join. But while Sun wên planned to revolt in Kwangtung, and Huang Hsing in Hunan, she joined Hsü<> Hsi-lin in operating independently in Chekiang and Anhwei. In 1906 Hsü<> went to Anking where he first became joint director of a military academy, and later of a school for training police officers. With the men and arms he thus had at his command he secretly organized his forces for an uprising.

In the meantime Ch'iu Chin returned to China (1906) and taught for a short time in a girls' school in Chekiang. Then she went to Shanghai where she founded a newspaper for women the 中國女報 Chung-kuo nü-pao. Early in 1,907 she returned to her native city, Shaohsing, where she directed a girls' school known as Ming-tao nü-hsüeh 明道女學. She also joined the staff of the Ta-t'ung hsüeh-t'ang 大通學堂, a school founded by Hsü<> Hsi-lin and used as headquarters for his revolutionary followers. During the ensuing months a plot was formed to begin a general uprising in Anhwei and Chekiang. Hsü<> had plenty of arms at his disposal at Anking; and, attached to the Ta-t'ung Hsüeh-t'ang at Shaohsing, was a gymnastic club where munitions were secreted under the supervision of Ch'iu Chin. The plan was to have the partisans rise in arms in cities southwest of Hangchow and, while the government troops were sent to quell the uprising, Ch'iu Chin would lead her force to take Hangchow. Hsü<> would simultaneously occupy Anking. 'But for some reason the plot went amiss at Anking and hsü<> was forced to strike on July 6, in advance of the day set. Although he succeeded in assassinating the governor, Ên-ming 恩銘 (T. 新甫 1846-1907), he was himself captured and executed. With the exposure of the plot, revolutionaries in several cities in Chekiang were placed under arrest.

Ch'iu Chin became alarmed, and for a time was undecided about her own course. Finally she and her followers set the date July 19 for the seizure of Shaohsing. But the plot became known to the prefect, Kuei-fu 貴福, who reported it to the governor, Chang Tsêng-yang 張曾敭 ((T. 次明 H. 小帆 1843-1921). Chang at once sent a detachment of the provincial army to Shaohsing. Informed of the movement of troops, Ch'iu Chin decided to disband and go into hiding. But on the afternoon of July 13, just as she was leaving her school, the place was surrounded and she was captured, together with eight men, of whom two were wounded when they resisted. On her person were found diaries and documents implicating her as a revolutionary leader. Moreover, forty-eight guns of various kinds and more than six thousand rounds of ammunition were uncovered. Chang Tsêngyang telegraphed an order for the immediate execution of Ch'iu Chin. After writing a simple confession, she was beheaded on July 15, two days after her arrest. Since then she has been known as one of the modern heroines of China.

The execution of Ch'iu Chin aroused an outburst of protest against the cruelty of the provincial authorities. In September 1907 the governor, Chang Tsêng-yang, was transferred to Kiangsu and a month later, to Shansi. The magistrate of Shan-yin, whom Chang falsely accused as responsible for Ch'iu Chin's death, committed suicide in November. Early in 1908 the body of Ch'iu Chin was interred on the shore of West Lake, Hangchow, by her two women friends, Wu Chih-ying and Hsü<> Tzŭ-hua 徐自華 (T. 寄塵). The latter wrote a sketch of her life which was inscribed on her tombstone in Wu Chih-ying's handwriting. Soon afterwards the authorities secretly ordered her elder brother, Ch'iu T'ung 秋桐, to transfer the coffin to Shaohsing. In the winter of 1909 her son came from Hunan and took the coffin to that province to be interred beside that of his father. After the overthrow of the Manchu regime Wu Chihying and others transported the remains back to the site on West Lake with formal burial ceremonies. A temple and a pavilion were raised to her memory near the tomb. A school for girls at Shanghai, named Ching-hsiung nü-hsiao (女校) in memory of the heroine, was for many years directed by her friend, Hsü<> Tzŭ-hua.

A collection of poems by Ch'iu Chin, entitled Ch'iu Chin shih tz'ŭ (詩詞), appeared about 1907. After being revised and supplemented it was reprinted about 1910 under the title, Ch'iu [171] nü-shih i-kao (女士遺稿), In 1929 the collection was again revised and enlarged by her daughter, Wang Kuei-fên 王桂芬, who is known by her tzŭ as Wang Ts'an-chih 燦芝. This collection was printed under the title, Ch'iu Chin nü<> hsia (俠) i-chi (集).

[6/57/11b; Ch'iu Chin nü-hsia i-chi ;清朝野史大觀 Ch'ing-ch'ao yeh-shih ta-kuan, vol. 8, p., 127;文獻叢編 Wên-hsien ts'ung-pien, nos. 16, 17;孫中山先生年譜 Sun Chung-shan hsien-shêng nien-p'u (1929); Giles, Lionel, "The Life of Ch'iu Chin" in T'oung Pao, vol. XIV (1913), pp. 211-27; The Eastern Miscellany (Tung fang tsa-chih), vol. IV (1907) chün-shih no. 7, pp. 81-82, Do. 10, pp. 106-10, no. 10 Tsa-tsu p. 24; Nan-p'i Wên chih (1932) 8/64b;國聞週報 Kuo-wên chou-pao, vol. XIV, no. 11 (1937), pp. 33-7; Teou Lu 鄒魯, 中國國民黨史稿 Chung-kuo Kuo-min-tang shih-kao (1929), pp. 41, 666-74.]