Fa Li is the wife of Fa Zhou and the mother of Mulan. Like her husband, she seems to be very traditional. She cares deeply about Mulan and her safety, as shown by her reaction when learning that Mulan has run away to join the army. Fa Li is notable, in that she is one of the few mothers of a Disney heroine to be still alive during the film, rather than deceased.
Fa Li first appears in town, waiting for Mulan to arrive. Grandmother Fa buys a lucky cricket and crosses the street with her eyes closed; seeing this, Fa Li pleads her not to do so, but Grandmother Fa ignores her and causes chaos in the road in the process. When Mulan arrives late, she quickly goes into action preparing Mulan for her trip to see the Matchmaker. After Mulan is dressed, Fa Li then watches as Mulan is the first girl chosen to see the Matchmaker. However, Mulan does terribly, much to the disappointment of Fa Li, who can only watch as Mulan is told that she will never bring her family honor by becoming a wife.
After returning home, Fa Li informs Fa Zhou of Mulan's failure. Later, when the emperor's consul, Chi-Fu, arrives with news that the Huns have invaded China, Fa Li is one of the townspeople listening when Chi-Fu announces that one man from every family must join the army. Fa Zhou, as the only male member of the family, steps forward and hands his crutch to Fa Li. When he returns to the house, Fa Li attempts to return it, but the proud Zhou refuses it. For the rest of the night, Fa Li is shown to be saddened, as Zhou's age and old war wounds mean that he will not survive the war. During dinner, she watches Mulan arguing with her father, who affirms that he will die for honor and yells angrily at her to learn her place like he did, causing Mulan to run off in tears, but Fa Zhou ignores her and sits down to continue eating. Before going to bed, Fa Li is shown in silhouette speaking to her husband, who attempts to comfort her, but she runs off in tears. Later, after Mulan is discovered to have run away to war in her father's place, Fa Li begs Zhou to go after her, fearing that Mulan could be killed. She is shocked and saddened when Fa Zhou tells her that if Mulan is discovered as a female by the army, she would be executed anyway according to Chinese law.
Fa Li appears at the end of the film, sighing happily as she sees Mulan and Fa Zhou reconnect. When Shang arrives to see Mulan, she directs him to her in a mild state of shock. She is then seen coming to speak to Shang after he is invited to dinner by Mulan.
Fa Li appears in the film, but only in a minor role during the first act.
Fa Li appears in the episode "Chip 'n' Dale" of the series House of Mouse.