She was an eloquent orator who spoke out for women’s rights, such as the freedom to marry, freedom of education, and abolishment of the practice of foot binding. In 1906 she founded a radical women’s journal with another female poet, Xu Zihua, in Shanghai. In 1907 she became head of the Datong school in Shaoxing, ostensibly a school for sport teachers, but really intended for the military training of revolutionaries. On July 6, 1907 Xu Xilin was caught by the authorities before a scheduled uprising in Anqing. He confessed his involvement under interrogation and was executed. Immediately after, on July 12, the authorities arrested Qiu at the school for girls where she was a principal. She was tortured but refused to admit her involvement in the plot, but they found incriminating documents and a few days later she was publicly beheaded in her home village, Shanyin, at the age of 31. Qiu was acknowledged immediately by the revolutionaries as a heroine and martyr, and she became a symbol of women’s independence in China.