Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco Visual Art Program 舊金山中華文化基金会艺术家項目
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“With all my heart I beseech and beg my two hundred million female compatriots to assume their responsibility as citizens. Arise! Arise! Chinese women, arise!”
- Qiu Jin
Considered to be modern China’s first feminist, Qiu Jin (1875-1907) was an accomplished writer, political activist, and leader of a revolutionary army during the country’s last imperial dynasty. Qiu Jin boldly spoke out against footbinding and other oppressive practices and demanded equal opportunities for women. She attempted an armed uprising against the corrupt Qing Dynasty and became the first female martyr for China’s 1911 Revolution. Qiu Jin is celebrated as a national heroine today.
This project brings the story of Qiu Jin to life in the format of an iPad interactive textbook. Through narrative text, video clips of interviews with scholars, dramatic reenactments based on Qiu Jin’s original writings, and galleries of historical images and archival materials, the AUTUMN GEM iBOOK creates an intimate portrait of the subject and provides deeper insight into her personal life.
Learn about the oppressive conditions imposed upon women during Qiu Jin's time and her struggle to break free of them. Follow her path from childhood as a privileged daughter of a gentry family, to a young woman forced into the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood, to her rejection of those roles and her transformation into a radical women's rights activist. See how she became involved in a rebellious plot to overthrow the last dynasty in China. Study the impact of her revolutionary sacrifice and the mythology that arose after her death. Using interactive digital media to examine the life and work of Qiu Jin, the AUTUMN GEM iBOOK offers a fresh perspective on women in China and their struggle to achieve equality.
As a Chinese woman born in the U.S., I had never heard of Qiu Jin until I came across her story in a book on Chinese women writers. What caught my attention was that Qiu Jin was described as a “radical feminist” from China, which came as a surprise to me, as I did not even realize there was a feminist movement in China. Upon doing more research, I became interested in sharing the story of this extraordinary figure as an inspiration to other Chinese American women.
As this year marks the centenary of the end of imperial rule in China, it is especially crucial to acknowledge the role of women during the country’s transition to a modern nation. Even today, Qiu Jin is considered remarkably ahead of her time, as the struggle for Chinese women’s equality continues. The AUTUMN GEM iBOOK sheds light on a seminal figure who continues to serve as a feminist inspiration to Chinese women today.