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Table of Contents
Xiang Jingyu is considered a heroine like her role model Hua Mulan. She started a women’s movement in different parts of China and was one of the first female members of the Communist Party of China.
See the fact file below for more information on Xiang Jingyu or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Xiang Jingyu worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Originally named Xiang Junxian, she was born on September 4, 1895, in Xupu, Hunan.
- She was still young when her mother, Deng Yugui, passed away, while her father, Xiang Ruiling, was a successful businessman believed to be from the Tujia Ethnicity.
- She and her ten siblings lived in a comfortable family.
- Four of her brothers, who were also her influences, went to study in Japan.
- Among her brothers, she was closest to Xiang Xianyue, the eldest among them.
- Xiang Xianyue graduated from Waseda University in Japan and was a leader in a secret society group called Tongmenghui in West Hunan.
- Xiang Jingyu attended the primary school her brother, Xiang Xianyue, established in Wenchangge in 1903.
- Through her brother’s help, she was the first female in her country to experience primary education in a school.
- She furthered her studies to Chengde in 1908.
- When the Xinhai Revolution ended the Qing Dynasty, Xiang Jingyu moved to Changsha and went to the First Provincial Women’s Normal School of Hunan.
- After attending school, she changed her name and was later known as Xiang Jingyu.
- Her intelligence, refined character, and discipline, got her acknowledged by her teachers as one of the school’s three excellent girls, and for her schoolmates, she was a saint.
- She left and transferred to Zhou Nan Women’s School.
- When she encountered the incident on the “Twenty-One Demands”, she and some other students were determined to wake the patriotism of the Chinese people.
- Thus, they made public speeches in the streets.
- After her graduation in 1916, she decided to return home with a strong belief that China could be rescued by education.
- With this in her mind, she decided to establish Xupu Primary School.
- Formerly, the physical institution of Xupu Primary School did not exist because it was destroyed by a flood.
- At just 20 years old, she rebuilt Xupu Primary School with the help of her family and some donations.
- She became its principal and employed young teachers, prioritizing her schoolmates.
- She had always believed in the power of education, so she convinced parents to enroll their daughters and made an effort to go into the mountains and persuade female students.
- The school focused on teaching new knowledge.
- From just one class with a dozen attendees, the number of students enrolled rapidly increased until it reached 300.
- Despite the success, feudalism still existed in the country.
- Therefore, conflicts remained, considering that classical Chinese literature was not taught in Xupu Primary School.
- With the inability to pursue her career in Xupu, she went back to Beijing, where she met Cai Hesen.
- In December 1919, she took the opportunity to study in France along with Cai Hesen and other students.
- She went to Montargis Women’s University, where she learned different things such as French and Marxism.
- After developing an intimate relationship, Xiang Jingyu and Cai Hesen married in France in May 1920.
- Cai Hesen was also considered a popular student leader in Hunan.
- He was also one of the early founders of the Chinese Communist Party.
- As they were both influential, their marriage became a center of attention and was even called the Xiang-Cai alliance.
- During their relationship, Cai Hesen had influenced much of Xiang Jingyu’s beliefs.
- From being democratic, Xiang Jingyu believed in Marxism and Communism.
- Her belief that her country could be saved by education was also changed.
- She believed that political struggles should be implemented and that women could only achieve their freedom through reform in society.
- She returned to China in 1921 together with the other part-time students.
- She joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1922 and was one of the earliest female members.
- By February of the same year, she became the first female member to be elected at CPC Central Committee.
- Xiang Jingyu becomes the first director to handle the women’s activities in the Women’s Bureau.
- She encouraged the women to unite and fight through her written articles with topics focusing on Chinese women’s problems.
- Xiang Jingyu became an editor in a Kuomintang newspaper, The Republican Daily.
- In June 1923, she was re-elected and appointed as the first secretary of the Women’s Movement Committee.
- She also drafted a proposal on the women’s movement bill, passed by congress.
- The draft included gender equality, such as women’s right of inheritance, marriage freedom, education equality, and compensation equality.
- She led a strike in June 1924 attended by thousands of female workers in 14 different silk factories located in Shanghai.
- Their demands included a higher compensation and working time reduction to just ten hours.
- For the third time, she was re-elected in the Central Committee, and during the 1925 May Thirteenth Movement, she led several strikes and protests in Shanghai.
- However, she was forced to leave her position in Central Committee and Women’s Bureau due to an affair with another Communist Party member, Peng Shuzhi.
- She was criticized and told she lacked moral virtue.
- Xiang Jingyu was sent to Moscow Orient Labor University in October 1925 with her husband to study.
- During this time, their relationship had also ended.
- She returned in March 1927 to China and flew to Wuhan to serve in the Publicity Department of the Federation of Trade Unions of the city.
- In July, the Communists were expelled by the Wuhan National Government, but despite the situation, Xing Jingyu stayed.
Arrest and Death
- Due to her colleagues’ betrayal, she was arrested on March 20, 1928, in the French Concession Sandelin, Wuhan.
- During the next month, she was turned over to the Nationalist government by the French officials.
- She was tortured, but she never revealed their party’s secrets.
- On her execution day, she still managed to make speeches to those she passed by.
- To keep her shut, the Kuomintang guards who held her started beating her up as they were also afraid that she could wake the patriotism among the people.
- The police executed Xiang Jingyu on May 1, 1928.
Xiang Jingyu Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Xiang Jingyu across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching about Xiang Jingyu who is considered a heroine like her role model Hua Mulan.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Xiang Jingyu Facts
- Truth Within Lies
- Choosing Right
- What I Fight For
- Women in The Community
- Protecting The Women
- My Heroine
- Inspiring Women
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