Li, who won more than 50 grand prix and international titles including two world singles crowns in the 1980s, thinks her country needs to help out.
"As China is one of the strongest teams in the world, I think we have the responsibility to help the other less-developed countries to promote this sport," Li told Reuters on the sidelines of this week's session of the CPPCC, an advisory body to China's parliament.
One way that China could help is by letting leading players go abroad to play and coach at the end of their careers. Some hoping to do this, however, have been accused of "treachery".
Li thinks this unfair and once the national team has dispensed with a players' services, they should be free to go.
"I don't think it's very bad for China," said Li.