The thing I regret most in my life is this: if I could have had two children, that would have been good.
These are the words of Li Xiaolin, daughter of the People’s Republic of China’s fourth Premier, Li Peng. It was Li Peng who ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 to crack down on the student protesters. According to All Girls Allowed, Li Xiaolin has lived a successful life, and her achievements include being ranked #21 in 2011 when Forbes announced their list of Asian Women at the Top. But this success cannot help her with her largest regret: the fact that she was able to have only one child.
Ms. Li, however, knows that she is not the only one with this regret:
This is the regret of many Chinese mothers. … We are the generation who sacrificed.
Ms. Li’s comments this week have created a buzz online in China. Da Gong, a Chinese media outlet, explains the importance of Ms. Li’s adherence to the One-Child Policy:
[S]he absolutely could not make this mistake [of having more than one child]. Her father always told her that he was the leader of China, and if the leader’s children did not seriously carry out [the One-Child Policy], who would carry it out?
The One-Child Policy affects women differently. Some are pressured into voluntarily having an abortion, some are forced into abortions, and some are fined heavily for having multiple children. According to All Girls Allowed:
Ms. Li may never have experienced these atrocities. But her public expression of deep regret shows that no wealth or prestige can silence the grief this policy causes for Chinese women.