Li was sentenced because he had forwarded seven articles to users of a group on the Chinese messaging app WeChat. It included an article on the Chinese Red Army’s history of killing people, from the time before the Chinese Communist Party took power, 70 years ago.
He was sentenced on four counts, including inciting subversion of state power.
Li’s wife, Bao Yan, said on social media she would appeal. She added that she contested the verdict, calling it “shameless persecution.”
Li had been funding disadvantaged groups in China, whose human rights had been violated by the authorities.
At the beginning of 2018, he was arrested with several of his employees, on the charge of “involvement in the mafia.”