Li, a reporter for Bijie Ribao daily newspaper in Guizhou province, was detained in September 2005. He was tried on May 11, 2006, in a five-hour hearing on charges of “inciting subversion of state authority” for online articles criticizing the Chinese Communist Party. In July, Bijie Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to two years in prison.
Li’s articles about poverty and unemployment in his home province angered local officials, according to the U.S.-based advocacy group Human Rights in China.
He told his lawyer that he began writing essays and posting them online after becoming increasingly frustrated with the “lies and clichés” he was writing for his state-controlled newspaper, and felt that it was his responsibility as a reporter to expose injustice and inequality. Under the name Ye Lang (Night Wolf), Li wrote articles that were very critical of Chinese Communist Party and local government actions, which were posted on banned U.S.-based Web sites Boxun News, Dajiyuan (Epoch Times), Yi Bao (ChinaEWeekly) and New Century Net.
He is expected to be released from prison in September 2007.