"Li's conviction would violate international standards of free expression," the press freedom organisation said. "His only crime was to express his views on such issues as democracy. We urge the judges to find him innocent and set him free, especially as he has already spent almost a year in prison for no good reason."
Foreign-based websites barred to Chinese Internet users such as Boxun News, ChinaEWeekly, China Democracy and Epoch Times were regularly used by Li to post articles criticising some of the practices of the leaders of the ruling Communist Party of China and deploring the lack of free expression in the Chinese media.
He was arrested for defamation when officials from the Internet control committee came and searched his home in Zibo, in Shandong province, and examined the contents of his computer's hard drive.
According to the US-based organisation Human Rights in China and his lawyer, Zhang Xinshui, he faces a possible 15-year prison sentence when he appears tomorrow before an intermediate court.