Li, a writer and businessman, was detained by police in Zibo, in northeast China’s Shandong province. Initially held on suspicion of defamation for articles critical of former president Jiang Zemin and current President Hu Jintao, he was tried on more serious charges of “inciting subversion of state authority” on April 12, 2005. Before going forward with the case, state prosecutors sent it back to police twice on the grounds of insufficient evidence, according to the U.S.-based advocacy group Human Rights in China.
In his trial, prosecutors cited 31 articles from banned U.S.-based Chinese-language Web sites Yi Bao (ChinaEWeekly), Dajiyuan (Epoch Times), and Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum). The verdict cited 18 of those articles, but his wife told CPJ it was not clear that her husband even wrote all of the stories.
On October 25, more than six months after Li’s trial, Zibo Intermediate People’s Court found him guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison, plus an additional two years’ deprivation of political rights. He planned to appeal his verdict, his wife said.