China's population

Former premier’s daughter's remark on one-child policy draws online criticism

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 6:47pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 November, 2015, 4:11pm

Former premier’s daughter Li Xiaolin’s comments that she regretted only having one child and that she was from “a generation of giving” have come under fire online, drawing widespread ridicule.

“How wonderful it would be if I could have a second child. This is the biggest regret of my life,” she said in an interview, referring to her family's strict compliance with China's one-child policy implemented in 1979. 

She also recalled how her father had told her that others would not follow government policy if children of state leaders did not. “That’s why my generation is a generation of giving,” she said.  

Li Xiaolin, 52, daughter of former two-term Chinese premier Li Peng, made the comments during an interview with a website affiliated to pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Takungpao.

“Ordinary people all only have one child, why do you feel that you are ‘giving’,” a blogger commented on microblog platform, Sina Weibo.

“Not exploiting your privilege is not called ‘giving’,” another blogger said.

Some even interpreted Li’s remarks as veiled criticism of a recently retired state leader who has allowed his children to ignore the one-child policy.

Currently chairwoman of the state-owned electricity giant China Power International Development, Li Xiaolin has long been seen by many as having taken advantage of her father’s position.

And this is not the first time that Li’s comments have drawn online criticism. Previous remarks in which she seemed to be trying to distance herself from her privileged background also backfired.

During an interview with Southern People Weekly, Li was quoted as saying, “My success is the result of my persistent hard work … Without hard work, you can’t attain success even if you are put in a position because of your father’s influence.”

Li came to the public’s attention because of her high-profile appearance at the annual convention of a national political consultancy body where she was seen wearing a pink outfit, said to be made by Italian luxury brand Emilio Pucci and worth over 14,000 yuan, and an 8,000-yuan Chanel pearl necklace.

Rumours have also circulated online regarding her educational background.

Public records show that she joined the National Energy Administration at the age of 23, before obtaining an engineering master’s degree from Tsinghua University. But no information was available about her under-graduate studies.

Rumours have suggested that she entered a technical junior college on a mediocre college entrance score and that she only gained a postgraduate place at the prestigious Tsinghua University due to her father’s influence.

Li’s brother, Li Xiaopeng, has also been a regular target of popular criticism due to speculation that he had benefited from Li Peng’s influence. He was once the chairman of China Huaneng Group, the nation’s largest electricity generator, before assuming the post of Shanxi governor this year.